Placeholder Picture
Jackie Robinson

U.S. Army Lieutenant and former UCLA football great Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), famous uniform number 42 entered major league baseball in 1945 by signing a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers’ farm team, the Montreal Royals. His minor league debut was on April 18, 1946 against the Jersey City Giants at Roosevelt Stadium near the Passaic River in front of 50,000 fans. 

Watch the video and learn more about Jackie Robinson Day.

Robinson, the first black player at the start of the 1947 season, was one of three African Americans on the roster of a major league baseball franchise by the end of 1947 (joined by Larry Doby of the Cleveland Indians, and Henry Thompson of the St. Louis Browns).

During the early years of his ten year baseball career, Robinson endured much bigotry and prejudice. His treatment in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by the Phillies, and their manager, Ben Chapman, was especially harsh. After his retirement, Robinson was criticized by black leaders for his support of U.S. Vietnam policy, and his endorsement of the 1960 presidential campaign of Richard M. Nixon. Robinson raised eyebrows during the McCarthyism era over his controversial statements about activist Paul Robeson.

Among Robinson’s achievements:

* 1947 - first Major League Rookie of the Year
* 1949 - National League Most Valuable Player.
* 1949 - National League batting champion with a .342 average.
* 1947 & 1949 - Stolen base leader.
* 1949 - 1954 - Six-time National League All-Star.

He won six National League Pennants and one world championship.
Jackie Robinson was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1962.
He had a lifetime batting average of .311