Jack Roosevelt Robinson was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base on April 15, 1947. Take a look below for 30 more fun and interesting facts about Jackie Robinson.
1. When the Dodgers signed Robinson, they heralded the end of racial segregation in professional baseball that had relegated black players to the Negro leagues since the 1880s.
2. Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
3. Robinson had an exceptional 10 year MLB career.
4. He was the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookies of the Year Award in 1947, was an All-Star for six consecutive seasons from 1949 through 1954, and won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949; the first black player so honored.
5. Robinson played in six World Series and contributed to the Dodgers’ 1955 World Series championship.
6. In 1997, MLB retired his uniform number, 42, across all major league teams; he was the first professional athlete in any sport to be so honored.
7. MLB adopted a new annual tradition, Jackie Robinson Day, for the first time on April 15, 2004, on which every player on every team wears his number.
8. Robinson’s character, his use of nonviolence, and his unquestionable talent challenged the traditional basis of segregation which then marked many other aspects of American life.
9. He influenced the culture of and contributed significantly to the civil rights movement.
10. Robinson was the first black television analyst in MLB and the first black vice president of a major American corporation, Chock full o’Nuts.
11. In the 1960s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank, an African-American owned financial institution based in Harlem, New York.
12. After his death in 1972, in recognition of his achievements on and off the field, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
13. Robinson was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, United States.
14. He was born into a sharecropping family, the youngest of five children.
15. Jackie’s father left when he was an infant and his mother worked a variety of jobs to support her children.
16. Jackie’s older brothers, Mack and Frank, encouraged Jackie’s interest in sports.
17. He made the newspaper in 1937 for his outstanding athletic performance in high school.
18. Robinson attended John Muir High School along with Ted Williams and Bob Lemons, both fellow future Baseball Hall of Famers. In high school, all three played on the Pemona Annual Baseball Tournament All-Star Team.
19. He excelled at several sports in high school and in college, including baseball, football, basketball and track.
20. Robinson’s older brother, Mack, won a silver medal at the 1936 Summer Olympics for the 200 meter sprint.
21. In 1936, Robinson won the annual Pacific Coast Negro Tennis Tournament for junior boy’s singles.
22. He was the first person ever to win four letters at UCLA, for football, track, basketball and baseball.
23. In 1942, Robinson was drafted into the army. There, he became friends with boxer Joe Louis.
24. Robinson was arrested by the military police for refusing to sit at the back of the bus. He was later acquitted and served as an Army athletics coach until 1944, when he was honorably discharged.
25. Robinson was signed to the Kansas City Monarchs in 1945, making $400 per month, which would be about $5,100 per month today. That same year, he was placed in the Negro League All-Star Game.
26. In 1946, Robinson married Rachel Isum. They had three children together.
27. In 1946, Robinson played for the Montreal Royals in Minor League Baseball.
28. Robinson played in a total of six World Series. His team won in 1955, against the New York Yankees.
29. While playing for the Dodgers, Robinson lived in Brooklyn, New York. In 1976, his house was turned into a National Historical Landmark.
30. Robinson died on October 24, 1972, in Connecticut. His wife, Rachel Isum, created the Jackie Robinson Foundation after his death.