Thursday, January 31, 2013

Remembering Jackie Robinson

"[Jackie Robinson] challenged the dark skies of intolerance and frustration."

-- Martin Luther King Jr.

Today would have been Jackie Robinson's 94th birthday.  

After a time at UCLA (where Robinson became the first athlete to letter in four sports), Robinson spent time in the US Army during World War II, experiencing some of the same racism that would serve as a precursor to his experience in baseball.  

In 1945, Robinson was signed to a contract with the (then) Brooklyn Dodgers by the legendary Branch Rickey.  Robinson made his major league debut in 1947 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.  From there it was a storied career, filled with historic highs and ugly lows.

To accomplish all that Jackie Robinson was able to do, in addition to the mental strength and courage that Robinson displayed is truly remarkable and worth remembering why there is only one 42 in baseball.  

Some Robinson facts:

  • Finished with a career batting average of .311
  • First African-American inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame
  • Stole home 19 times
  • Earned the NL MVP in 1949
  • Became the highest paid player on the Dodgers
  • Became the first MLB player on a postage stamp
  • Served on the board of the NAACP
  • Won the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Won the first ever Rookie of the Year Award in 1947
  • Close to 30,000 African-Americans were in attendance in his major league debut.

Let's take a moment to remember all the contributions that Robinson gave to baseball today.

"A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives."  
-- Jackie Robinson