Jackie Robinson was born 100 years ago today, and the impact the Hall of Famer has had on baseball continues to resonate 63 years after his retirement.
Robinson, who broke the modern color line in major league baseball when he debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, played only 10 seasons. But his courage and grace under pressure from white players, managers and fans earned him respect and paved the way for other blacks and Hispanics to follow in his footsteps.
Here are five things to know about No. 42.
Teddy tribute: Jack Roosevelt Robinson, the grandson of slaves, was born Jan. 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia. Shortly after his birth, Robinson’s mother relocated the family to Pasadena, California. Robinson’s middle name was a tribute to former President Theodore Roosevelt, who died 25 days before Robinson was born.
Four-sport star: Robinson not only played baseball at UCLA. He also lettered in basketball, football and track. He also played tennis and won the junior boys singles title in the Pacific Coast Negro Tennis Tournament.
Military action: Robinson served in the Army during World War II but never saw action overseas. He was court-martialed after refusing to sit in the back of an unsegregated bus, but was acquitted. He was honorably discharged in 1944.
Career highlights: Robinson was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 1949 and was named the N.L.’s Most Valuable Player in 1949. He was a six-time all-star and played in five World Series. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility.
Retired number: Robinson died Oct. 24, 1972. He was 53. Robinson’s No. 42 was retired in a ceremony at New York’s Shea Stadium on April 15, 1997 -- the 50th anniversary of his major league debut. Major League Baseball adopted “Jackie Robinson Day” on April 15, 2004. Every player on each team wore No. 42 that day.
Information from wire services, Baseball-reference.com and the Jackie Robinson website were used in compiling this report.
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