Robinson, Jackie

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Robinson, Jackie

(Jack Roosevelt Robinson), 1919–72, American baseball player, the first African-American player in the modern major leagues, b. Cairo, Ga. He grew up in Pasadena, Calif., where he became an outstanding athlete in high school and junior college. While attending (1939–41) the Univ. of California at Los Angeles, he established a wide reputation in baseball, basketball, football, and track.

Robinson left college to support his mother, but in 1941 played professional football with the Los Angeles Bulldogs of the Pacific Coast League. He entered the army in World War II and was discharged as a lieutenant in 1945. In Oct., 1945, Branch RickeyRickey, Branch,
1881–1965, American baseball executive, b. Stockdale, Ohio. As manager or executive, he was with the St. Louis Browns (1913–15), the St. Louis Cardinals (1917–42), the Brooklyn Dodgers (1943–50), and the Pittsburgh Pirates (1950–59).
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, then president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, signed Robinson to play for the Montreal Royals, a Brooklyn farm club in the International League. Despite several incidents in spring training in the South and many inconveniences during the season, Robinson—the first African-American ballplayer in that league—excelled as a second baseman and won the league batting crown.

In 1947 precedent was shattered when Robinson was brought up to the Brooklyn club. African Americans had not played in big-league competition in the 20th cent., but resistance dwindled as Robinson excelled. In 1949 he won the National League batting crown, hitting .342, and was named the NL's most valuable player. Robinson played his entire career (1947–56) with Brooklyn, where he set fielding and batting records and gained a reputation for base stealing. Other African Americans began playing in the major leagues soon after his debut. In 1962 Robinson became the first African American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Bibliography

See his autobiography (1972); J. Tygiel, Baseball's Great Experiment (1983) and Extra Bases (2002); A. Rampersad, Jackie Robinson (1997); S. Simon, Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball (2002); J. Eig, Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season (2007).

Robinson, Jackie

(1919–1972) professional American baseball player; first Negro to play in the major leagues. [Am. Sports: NCE, 2335]
See: Firsts

Robinson, (Jack Roosevelt) Jackie

(1919–72) baseball player; born in Cairo, Ga. A four-sport star at the University of California: Los Angeles (UCLA), he became the first African-American baseball player in the modern era major leagues when he was brought up as an infielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. His indomitable personality and competitive nature served him admirably during the first difficult years with the Dodgers, where he was a frequent target of beanballs and the racial epithets of opposing players and fans alike. An excellent fielder, clutch hitter, and base runner, he led the Dodgers to six National League championships and their first ever World Series victory in 1955. During his ten-year career (1947–56), he won the National League batting title with an average of .342 in 1949 and was named the league's Most Valuable Player. After retiring from baseball he was an active spokesperson for civil rights, and in 1962 he was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame.
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Jack Roosevelt Robinson, #42, takes his place as one of the team's nine starting players.