Today, I was about to write about Kobe’s farewell and honor him for all he has accomplished and brought to the sport. But I couldn’t stop thinking about Jackie Robinson’s role in all of this. If it weren’t for his contribution, perhaps we would have missed the chance to met many great athletes. Such as Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, Jim Brown, and all great African-American athletes who have represented and honored with pride what a true American hero should be.
This Friday, April 15th, Booking Per Head is wearing the No.42 jersey and joining the 12th-anniversary celebrations to honor one of America’s greatest days in sports, civil and human rights history. Today, we would like to honor the Jackie Robinson Day!
Breaking The Color Barrier
Jackie Robinson is well known for becoming the first black major league baseball player of the modern era in 1947, and ending approximately 50 years of baseball segregation, also known as the baseball color line, or color barrier. However, his achievement and contribution to America’s civil right’s history weren’t an easy task to accomplish. His struggle against racism began very early.
Born in Cairo, Georgia, to a family of sharecroppers, on January 31, 1919, Robinson moved to Pasadena, Calif., when he was still a child, where he prospered and eventually graduated from local John Muir High School. He excelled at sports and attended the University of California at Los Angeles, becoming the first athlete to letter in four varsity sports: baseball, basketball, football and track.
Jack Roosevelt Robinson dropped out UCLA and later enlisted in the Army, due financial difficulties in 1942 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Robinson faced martial court in 1944, after protesting instances of racial discrimination during his military service. He was honorably discharged, ultimately.
He was called up to the Majors in 1947 and his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers (today known as the Los Angeles Dodgers) was on April 15th -that year’s Opening Day, but at the time, things were not easy at all. Robinson kept facing tremendous racial discrimination throughout his 10-year career, from baseball fans and even some fellow players.
Despite his talent and success as a player, Robinson was constantly a victim of humiliations, such as: been banned from using the same hotels and restaurants as his teammates while playing in the South. Yet. However, his determination and heart allowed him to overcome all of this obstacles and print deep inside the American people, what the human spirit is all about.
Robinson became the National League’s Rookie of the Year. In 1949, the right-hander was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player and league batting champ. Robinson played on the National League All-Star team from 1949 through 1954 and led the Dodgers to six National League pennants and one World Series, in 1955. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility.
The Jackie Robinson Day
Robinson retired from baseball in 1956, and the Dodgers left for Los Angeles a year later. In 1972, a decade after he was elected to the Hall Of Fame, his jersey, the No.42 was permanently retired and never worn again by a Dodgers player.
Around 50 years later, in 2004, MLB celebrated for the first time the Jackie Robinson Day, a festivity that honors his fight and great legacy to America’s history and civil rights. Since then, every year MLB teams honor his contribution as all players wear the 42 jerseys, in tribute to this American hero.
After retiring from baseball in 1957, Robinson entered the business world and became a civil rights activist. He died October 24, 1972, at age 53, in Stamford, Connecticut.