Perhaps no player in the history of the game was more important on a social level than Jackie Robinson. The first black Major Leaguer of the modern era, Robinson played a pivotal role in ushering in the racial integration of ballclubs when he debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Despite facing a slew of volatile racist taunts, Robinson went on to have a great career, playing in the Majors for 10 seasons between 1947 and 1956. During that time, he played in 6 World Series and would help the Dodgers win the championship in 1956. After retiring, he took part in numerous off-the-field ventures, including becoming a television analyst and a vice-president for the Chock Full o' Nuts company.
He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility. As such, he became the first black man to receive this honor.
I completed this sketch card in August 2012.
10 random facts about Jackie Robinson:
- His middle name (Roosevelt) was in honor of former President Theodore Roosevelt, who died 25 days before Robinson was born.
- In 1941, Robinson became the first athlete in the history of UCLA to letter in 4 sports (baseball, football, basketball and track) in the same year.
- He made his Major League debut on April 15, 1947, before a crowd of 26,623 spectators- more than 14,000 who were black.
- he hit for the cycle during a 12–7 win against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 29, 1948.
- He was the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947.
- In the 1960s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank, an African-American-owned financial institution based in Harlem, New York.
- In 1997, Major League Baseball retired his uniform number 42 across all teams, meaning that no other player will ever wear the number again (with the exception of Mariano Rivera, who wore 42 before it was retired and has been allowed to continue wearing it until his retirement).
- In recognition of his achievements on and off the field, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
- From 1957 to 1964, Robinson was the Vice President for Personnel at Chock full o' Nuts; as a result, he became the first black person to serve as vice president of a major American corporation.
- Robinson portrayed himself in the 1950 motion picture The Jackie Robinson Story.