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Jackie Robinson

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Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

Before the Major League

This person is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Born in Cairo, Georgia, Robinson moved with his mother and siblings to Pasadena, California in 1920, after his father deserted the family. At the University of California, Los Angeles, he was a star player of football, basketball, track, and baseball; the only athlete in UCLA history to letter in four different sports. He played with Kenny Washington, who would become one of the first black players in the National Football League since the early 1930s. Robinson also met his future wife, Rachel, at UCLA. His brother Matthew "Mack" Robinson (1912-2000) competed in the 1936 Summer Olympics, finishing second in the 200-meter sprint behind Jesse Owens.

After leaving UCLA his senior year, Robinson enlisted in the US Army during World War II. He trained with the segregated U.S. 761st Tank Battalion. Initially refused entry to Officer Candidate School, he fought for it and eventually was accepted, graduating as a first lieutenant. While training at Fort Hood, Texas, Robinson refused to go to the back of a bus. He was court-martialed for insubordination, and therefore never shipped out to Europe with his unit. He received an honorable discharge in 1944, after being acquitted of all charges at the court-martial.

Jackie played baseball in 1944 for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro American League where he caught the eye of Clyde Sukeforth, a scout working for Branch Rickey.

Number originally retired June 4, 1972 Retired throughout North American baseball April 15, 1997

Jackie Robinson

Position 2B (748 games)3B (356 games)1B (197 games)OF (162 games)SS (1 game)

MLB Seasons 10

Team(s) Brooklyn Dodgers

Debut April 15, 1947

Final Game September 30, 1956

Total Games 1,382 batting1,364 fielding

NL Pennants 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956

World Series Teams 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956

All-Star Teams 1949 (2B),1950 (2B),1951 (2B),1952 (2B),1953 (3B),1954 (OF)

Awards Rookie of the Year (1947)

National League MVP (1949)

NL batting leader(.342 - 1949)

Baseball Hall of Fame (1962)

Nickname

"Jackie"

The Dodgers

Branch Rickey was the club president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and had the secret goal of signing the Negro Leagues' top players to the team. Although there was no official ban on blacks in organized baseball, previous attempts at signing black ballplayers had been thwarted by league officials and rival clubs in the past, and so Rickey operated undercover. His scouts were told that they were seeking players for a new all-black league Rickey was forming; not even the scouts knew his true objective.

Robinson drew national attention when Rickey selected him from a list of promising candidates and signed him. In 1946, Robinson was assigned to play for the Dodgers' minor league affiliate in Montreal, the Montreal Royals. Although that season was very tiring emotionally for Robinson, it was also a spectacular success in a city that treated him with all the wild fan support that made the Canadian city a welcome refuge from the hateful harassment he experienced elsewhere.

Robinson was a slightly curious candidate to be the first black Major Leaguer in sixty years (see Moses Fleetwood Walker). Not only was he 27 (relatively old for a prospect), he also had a fiery temperament. While some felt his more laid-back future teammate Roy Campanella might have been a better candidate to face the expected abuse, Rickey chose Robinson, knowing that Jackie's outspoken nature would, in the long run, be more beneficial for their cause than Campanella's relative docility. However, to ease the transition, Rickey asked Robinson to work hard to restrain his temper and his outspokenness for the first two years, and to moderate his natural reaction to the abuse. Aware of what was at stake, Robinson acquiesced.

Robinson's debut at first base with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947 (he batted 0 for 3) was one of the most eagerly-awaited events

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