Jackie Robinson is one of the most well-known names in sports history and especially in baseball. He became a sports legend, wowed millions of fans over the span of his career and achieved true greatness.
1. Brooklyn Dodgers
Jackie Robinson started his first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. He played several positions throughout his career, but the position he played on his first day was first base. He wasn’t successful at the plate, going 0 for 3. He played first base for most of his first season but spent the majority of his career on second base.
2. 1st Rookie of the Year
Jackie Robinson had a very successful start to his career. During his rookie season in 1947, he was awarded the first ever Rookie of the Year award for Major League Baseball. During the season, Jackie batted .297 and stole 29 bases.
3. Branch Rickey
Many people in the league didn’t want to allow Branch Rickey to sign Jackie and Rickey was opposed on many different sides by people in all positions. Branch Rickey was the General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers who decided to sign Jackie and this was a very important decision for both of them.
4. Military Service
Jackie Robinson was drafted into the military and served in the Army from 1941 to 1944. It is very interesting to know that he was almost court marshaled because he refused to sit on the back of a bus. Jackie was acquitted of the charge but the court martial still kept him from being deployed overseas and he was honorably discharged from the Army in 1944.
5. Honoring Jackie
50 years after Jackie broke the color barrier, in 1997, Major League Baseball honored Jackie by retiring his jersey; Robinson was the first player to ever have his jersey retired. Many don’t know that the number on his jersey was number 42. Unfortunately, Jackie never got to see the event, having passed away in 1972.
6. Debuting in the Major Leagues
Jackie Robinson played for several teams before signing onto the Brooklyn Dodgers. Before he even made his debut in the Major Leagues, he played on a minor league team called the Montreal Royals for a year. He also played on a team in the Negro League for the Kansas City Monarchs. It is interesting to note that because Jackie made it to the Major Leagues, the Negro League eventually disappeared.
7. Multi-Sport Athlete
Jackie was most famous for his career in baseball, but he played other sports along with baseball before he went to the major leagues. He was the first black man to be drafted to the majors but was also an athlete for UCLA. Robinson was a four-sport athlete in college, playing football, track, basketball and, of course, baseball.
Jackie was a very valuable asset to the Dodgers, but his manager, Branch Rickey, no longer worked for the Dodgers and so they didn’t have as much vested interest in him. Jackie was sold to the New York Giants and he decided to retire instead of play for the Giants.
9. A World Series Championship for the Brooklyn Dodgers
Jackie had a very successful career and after many years of trying finally took the Brooklyn Dodgers to a World Series Championship. The Dodgers had been trying for many years to achieve Major League Baseball’s ultimate goal, a World Series Championsip, and were finally successful in 1955, beating the New York Yankees. The following year, the Dodgers lost to the Yankees in the Championship game.
Jackie Robinson’s middle name is Roosevelt. He was given this name to honor President Theodore Roosevelt.