Jackie Robinson, the best baseball player in the twentieth century, was the first African American to play in the Major League Baseball and opened up the generation for colored people to play baseball. He courageously changed and challenged the deeply rooted custom of racial segregation in both the north and the south. He also gave the African Americans a different focus for life then just stepping back and letting them get walked all over by the words form the whites. Jackie proved a lot from when he made major achievements in high school from a one parent family, to trying out for the Major Leagues. Then put in his will to create a foundation after he was deceased to help out teens that struggled through life like him.
Jackie Robinson came from a hardworking single-parent family with the strength to shake the world. He attended John Muir High School and also Pasadena Junior College (Jackie Robinson Foundation). At UCLA, Jackie became the first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: baseball, basketball, football, and track (Official website). After he was turned away for wanting to play major league baseball, he put a lot of thought in to it and decided he needed to do something else first. He volunteered for the Army one year before war was declared and got sent on April 3rd (Mary 33). From 1942 to 1944, Robinson served as a second lieutenant in the United States Army in World War II, and was discharged from the Army in 1944 (The Biography).
After Jackie got back from the war, he began to think he could do anything and started thinking about baseball again. Robinson’s older brother, Matthew Robinson, inspired Jackie to pursue his talent and love for the game of baseball (Jackie Robinson Foundation). Jackie succeeded in putting the prejudice and racial stride aside, and showed everyone what a talented player he was. Particularly at the away games there was more racial abuse, but Robinson had an outstanding start with the royals (Jackie Robinson Foundation). After all his hard work and loyalty to the Royals, Jackie finally got asked to sign a contract with the Dodgers. April 10, 1947, is when the Dodgers purchased Jackie’s contract from the Montreal Royals (Sharon 32). The Dodgers had not had a colored player since 1889 (Jackie Robinson Official Website). Jackie belted his first major league home run when the Dodgers played the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds (Sharon 36). Jackie’s first game in the major leagues was at Ebbets Field, the Dodgers stadium in Brooklyn, New York. They beat the Boston Braves, 5-3 (Sharon 36). During his one season with Montreal, he won the batting championship with a .349 average, scored 113 runs, ranked second in the league in stolen bases. At the end of the season Jackie was voted most valuable player in the International League in 1949 (Sharon34). While the fans harassed Robinson from the stands, one of his teammates, Reese, walked over and put his arm around Robinson. This gesture has now become legendary in the game of baseball history (The Biography). After all of this hard work and dedication, Jackie put towards the game of baseball and also all the discrimination. He finally broke the color barrier on January 13, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia (Jackie Robinson Foundation). His Courage and moral objection to segregation were precursors to impact that Robinson had in major league baseball. From the beginning of Jackie’s career with the Dodgers, Rickey who was Jackie’s coach knew there were going to be difficult times ahead of the young athlete, and he made Robinson promise him to not fight back when confronted with racism (Jackie Robinson Foundation). After all the long and hard work Jackie did for the sport of baseball and for the younger colored athletes who weren’t brave enough to take on the risk. The Dodgers, in respect of Jackie, retired his uniform number, 42, in 1972 (The Biography).
As Jackie kept on striving through his career in Major League Baseball, he learned that he could conquer anything that life through at him. When he retired on January 5, 1957, with a batting average of .311, he was the highest paid athlete in Dodgers history (The Biography). After baseball, Robinson became active in business and continued his work as an activist for social change. He died on October 24, 1972, in Stamford, Connecticut from heart problems and also diabetes complications. After his death, his wife established the Jackie Robinson Foundation because she knew that is what her husband would want. His foundation helps young people in need by providing them with scholarships and also mentoring programs.
In 1997 the world celebrated fifty years of Jackie breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier (Jackie Robinson official Website). Jackie Robinson, the best baseball player in the 20th century, was the first African American to play in the Major League Baseball and opened up the generation for colored people to play baseball. Because of what Jackie went through, today the 1946 Royals are regarded as one of the greatest teams in the history of minor league baseball (Sharon 34). He courageously changed and challenged the deeply rooted custom of racial segregation in both the north and the south. Jackie Robinson’s life and legacy will be remembered as one of the most important in American history (Jackie Robinson official website).
“About Jackie Robinson.” The Jackie Robinson Foundation. NP. 2011. Web. 15 April 2014 “Biography” Jackie Robinson: The Oficial Website. NP. 2011. Web. 9 April 2014 “ Jackie Robinson.” 2014. The Biography.com. NP. 11 April 2014 Mary Kay Linge, “Jackie Robinson.” Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007. Print. Sharon Robinson, “Promises to Keep.” Broadway, New York, NY: Scholastic Press, 2004. Print.