Every year since 2004, April 15 has been designated as Jackie Robinson Day-the day when major league baseball pays homage to one of sports most recognizable trailblazers.
On April 15, 1947 at the age of 28, Jackie Robinson made his debut for the then Brooklyn Dodgers and ended about 80 years of baseball segregation. Robinson’s integration transcended sports as he became a symbolic figure in the civil rights movement, serving as proof that blacks were equal in a system where white supremacy was accepted and even law.
With the eyes of the world on him, an astronomical amount of pressure and facing constant racism and bigotry, Robinson went on to have a hugely successful baseball career, starring on Dodger teams that won 6 pennants, a World Series, and was named National League MVP in 1949 a year in which he batted a league-leading .342.
This Friday, the much-anticipated biographical film 42 will be released, and on Monday baseball stadiums will honor the legacy of a man who helped pave the way for African-American athletes in all professional sports. In recognition of Jackie Robinson Day I have included some interesting facts about him, and also some great pictures and posters provided by Sports Poster Warehouse ,which is offering free shipping to our readers with use of promo code JRD-SHIP until April 21st.
Jackie Robinson Fun Facts:
• First athlete awarded varsity letters in 4 sports (football, baseball, basketball, and track) at UCLA.
• Played semi-professional football in Hawaii for the Honolulu Bears.
• Served as a 2nd lieutenant in the US Army.
• Was the highest paid player in Dodgers history.
• He testified on discrimination before the House Un-American Activities Committee.
• First black vice-president of a major American Corporation (Chock Full O’Nuts Coffee Company).
• Helped establish of the Freedom National Bank in Harlem.
• First African-American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
• First professional athlete to have his number universally retired by his sport.