[22][23], At Muir Tech, Robinson played several sports at the varsity level and lettered in four of them: football, basketball, track, and baseball.

[198], Robinson's career is generally considered to mark the beginning of the post–"long ball" era in baseball, in which a reliance on raw power-hitting gave way to balanced offensive strategies that used footspeed to create runs through aggressive baserunning. "[196], Beginning his major league career at the relatively advanced age of 28, he played only ten seasons from 1947 to 1956, all of them for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He also led the league in stolen bases with 29. [156] The Dodgers briefly moved into first place in the National League in late August 1948, but they ultimately finished third as the Braves went on to win the league title and lose to the Cleveland Indians in the World Series. [21] Recognizing his athletic talents, Robinson's older brothers Mack (himself an accomplished athlete and silver medalist at the 1936 Summer Olympics)[20] and Frank inspired Jackie to pursue his interest in sports. [191] After the season, the Dodgers traded Robinson to the arch-rival New York Giants for Dick Littlefield and $35,000 cash (equal to $329,137 today). [69] While there, Robinson met a former player for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League, who encouraged Robinson to write the Monarchs and ask for a tryout. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. "After the club was taken over by Walter O'Malley, you couldn't even mention Mr. Rickey's name in front of him. [126] In the fall of 1946, following the baseball season, Robinson returned home to California and briefly played professional basketball for the short-lived Los Angeles Red Devils. [313] In 1997, the United States Mint issued a Jackie Robinson commemorative silver dollar, and five-dollar gold coin. "[147] Regarding Robinson's qualities on the field, Leo Durocher said, "Ya want a guy that comes to play. Since 1997, only Wayne Gretzky's number 99, retired by the NHL in 2000, has been retired league-wide. [135], Robinson nonetheless became the target of rough physical play by opponents (particularly the Cardinals). His wife Rachel was present for the dedication on September 15. Robinson opened the door for black athletes in any sport to be able to compete at the highest level. But on a team with such famous sluggers as Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and Roy Campanella, who was also black, he was the cleanup hitter, fourth in the batting order, a tribute to his ability to mover along teammates on base. At the time, Rachel Robinson was an assistant professor of psychology at Yale. [157], Racial pressure on Robinson eased in 1948 when a number of other black players entered the major leagues. I think he enjoyed that the most, too. The baseball player Jackie Robinson died at the age of 53. Karl Downs) to attend church on a regular basis, and Downs became a confidant for Robinson, a Christian. of diabetes. In the 1960s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank, an African-American-owned financial institution based in Harlem, New York. He had a career batting average of .311. That September, he signed with Chet Brewer's Kansas City Royals, a post-season barnstorming team in the California Winter League. Robinson's mother worked various odd jobs to support the family. Three years earlier, Jackie Jr. had been arrested for heroin possession. [108][109][110] Since the Dodgers organization did not own a spring training facility,[111] scheduling was subject to the whim of area localities, several of which turned down any event involving Robinson or Johnny Wright, another black player whom Rickey had signed to the Dodgers' organization in January. [146] Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese once came to Robinson's defense with the famous line, "You can hate a man for many reasons. [230] In 1966, Robinson was hired as general manager for the short-lived Brooklyn Dodgers of the Continental Football League. City Island Ballpark in Daytona Beach, Florida was renamed Jackie Robinson Ballpark in 1990 and a statue of Robinson with two children stands in front of the ballpark. "But if Mr. Rickey hadn't signed me, I wouldn't have played another year in the black league," he said. [324], For other people named Jackie Robinson, see, Robinson with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954. National Bank in Harlem and a member of the New York State Athletic Commission. [107], Robinson's presence was controversial in racially charged Florida. [41][42] They went undefeated with four ties at 6–0–4. If he had quit the black leagues without having been signed by Mr. Rickey, what would he have done? Two innings later, Alvin Dark, the Giants' captain and shortstop, retaliated by trying to stretch a double into a third-base collision with Robinson. © Copyright 2020 Endgame360 Inc. All Rights Reserved. [251] She also served on the board of the Freedom National Bank until it closed in 1990. "I would've torn his face up." [17] Growing up in relative poverty in an otherwise affluent community, Robinson and his minority friends were excluded from many recreational opportunities. Robinson didn’t see himself as an intruder. [101], Robinson's promotion met a generally positive, although mixed, reception among newspapers and white major league players. [8][88] In a famous three-hour exchange on August 28, 1945,[89] Rickey asked Robinson if he could face the racial animus without taking the bait and reacting angrily—a concern given Robinson's prior arguments with law enforcement officials at PJC and in the military. He was one of the most impactful figures in the fight to end segregation. [148] A statue by sculptor William Behrends, unveiled at KeySpan Park on November 1, 2005, depicts Reese with his arm around Robinson. [49][54][56] The experience led to a personal friendship between Robinson and Louis.

He come to beat ya. [60] While awaiting results of hospital tests on the ankle he had injured in junior college, Robinson boarded an Army bus with a fellow officer's wife; although the Army had commissioned its own unsegregated bus line, the bus driver ordered Robinson to move to the back of the bus. He suffered a heart attack in 1968, and he also lost sight in his eye due to diabetes around the same time.

"[170], Robinson's Hollywood exploits, however, did not sit well with Dodgers co-owner Walter O'Malley, who referred to Robinson as "Rickey's prima donna".

He did it for all of us, Ellis. [266][267], According to a poll conducted in 1947, Robinson was the second most popular man in the country, behind Bing Crosby. for baseball than baseball did for him.

[142][187], In 1954, Robinson had 62 runs scored, a .311 batting average, and 7 steals. [52] By that time, however, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had taken place, which drew the United States into World War II and ended Robinson's nascent football career.

Even though he understandably needed a Branch Rickey to open the door for him, Branch [48] He took a job as an assistant athletic director with the government's National Youth Administration (NYA) in Atascadero, California. ", "I had to fight hard against loneliness, abuse and the knowledge that any mistake I made would be magnified because I was the only black man out there.

It’s what we didn’t know, including the death threat letters we never saw. "I do not care if half the league strikes. Monte Irvin, who played for the New York Giants while Robinson was with the Dodgers and who now is an assistant to the commissioner of baseball, said yesterday: "Jackie Robinson opened the door of baseball to all men. Having the requisite qualifications, Robinson and several other black soldiers applied for admission to an Officer Candidate School (OCS) then located at Fort Riley. During Robinson's first at bat, the Jersey City catcher, Dick Bouknight, demanded that Sandel throw at Robinson, but Sandel refused. He recovered from a heart attack in 1968 but then lost the sight of one eye and the partial sight of the other as a result I'm the manager of this team, and I say he plays.

Mr. Robinson's niche in American history is secure--his struggle predated the emergence of "the first black who" in many areas of the American society. [244] He later became special assistant for community affairs when Rockefeller was re-elected governor of New York in 1966. ", "Larry Doby Remembers Being Introduced To", "Document Deep Dive: The Heartfelt Friendship Between Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey", "Jackie Robinson and baseball highlights, 1860s–1960s", "It's Jackie Robinson Day on Wednesday. He had grown used to a structured playing environment in college, and the Negro leagues' disorganization and embrace of gambling interests appalled him. Ebbets Field, the Brooklyn ballpark that was the stage for his drama, was leveled shortly after Mr. O'Malley moved the Dodger franchise to Los Angeles in 1958. That man was Jackie Robinson. Overcoming his dejection, Robinson dutifully observed Thomson's feet to ensure he touched all the bases.