Jackie Robinson's Impact on Sports

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Jackie Robinson’s Impact on American Sports

Jack Roosevelt Robinson (Jackie) was born on January 31, 1919 in Cairo, Georgia and died on October 24, 1972 in Stamford, Connecticut. Jackie Robinson is best known for being the first African American baseball player of the modern era, by breaking the color barrier by playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Robinson's debut for the Dodgers in 1947 came a year before President Harry Truman desegregated the military and seven years before the Supreme Court ruled desegregation in public schools was unconstitutional (Schwartz). As the first black man to play in the major leagues since the 1880s, he was instrumental in bringing an end to racial segregation in professional baseball, which had relegated black players to the Negro leagues for six decades. Robinson played an indirect, but significant role, in the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King Jr. said that he was "a legend and a symbol in his own time", and that he "challenged the dark skies of intolerance and frustration” (Robinson; Kerry).

Not only did Robinson impact the American culture by breaking the color barrier, he would also become a Hall of Famer during his ten year career. Robinson was voted as the first ever Rookie of the Year in 1947, which at the time was for the entire league, rather than an American League and National League selection. April 15, 1947, Robinson's first major-league game: "It was the most eagerly anticipated debut in the annals of the national pastime," wrote Robert Lipsyte and Pete Levine in Idols of the Game. "It represented both the dream and the fear of equal opportunity, and it would change forever the complexion of the game and the attitudes of Americans” (Schwartz). In 1987, the Rookie of the Year award was formally named the Jackie Robinson award. In his ten seasons with the Dodgers, the team played in six World Series, winning the 1955 pennant. Robinson was a six time All-Star, who was voted the National...
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