April 15th holds a true significance to those avid fans of baseball. On that same day in 1947, a rookie baseball player by the name of Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson stepped onto a major league field wearing the number “42” of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson’s start in the game that day ended 6 decades of racial segregation that had relegated black ballplayers to the Negro leagues.
Robinson’s talents on the field overshadowed the adversity heaped upon him by both fans and opposing players. Braving both racial insults and often targeted violence on the field – Robinson endured.
In over 10 seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers, all of them but the first at second base, Robinson would appear in six consecutive All-Star games between 1949 in 1954. He played in six World Series championship matches including the Dodgers win in the 1955 series. He was also the recipient of the inaugural MLB rookie of the year award in 1947 and the National League MVP in 1949. Jackie was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
The Cairo, Georgia native went on to have a successful career after baseball becoming the first black television analyst in major league baseball in the first black vice president of a major American corporation. His entry into major league baseball was a watershed moment in the efforts to desegregate both baseball and America at large. He is arguably one of the most prolific figures in the early civil rights movement. Jackie died on October 24, 1972 in Stamford Connecticut.
In 1997 major league baseball retired his uniform number “42” across all major league teams. Beginning in 2004 major league baseball initiated “Jackie Robinson Day” each April 15. On that day every major league player on every major league team wears a jersey bearing the number “42.”
Categories: FOR THE FUN OF IT!