Robinson was born in Cairo, Illinois on January 31, 1919.
He was the son of Georgia sharecropper Jerry Robinson and his wife
Mallie. Jackie's family moved to Pasadena, California in 1921 where he
attended John Muir Technical High School and Pasadena
Junior College. Jackie then attended the University of
California at Los Angeles, (UCLA) where he stared on the
track, basketball, football, and baseball teams.
in the Army during World War II and served as a moral officer. He was
discharged in 1945, having achieved the rank of 1st Lieutenant. During
his Army enlistment there was an incident in which a camp bus driver
told Jackie to move to the rear of the bus. Jackie refused and the
driver complained to the authorities. Jackie received a court-martial
but was acquitted.
He began his
professional baseball career in 1945 with the Kansas City Monarchs of
the old Negro League. Jackie, along with three other black baseball
players also tried out that year with the Red Sox at Fenway Park but
In 1946 Branch
Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers organization signed Robinson to a minor
league contract and placed him with the Montreal Royals of the
International League where he won the leagues batting title.
Jackie broke the
color line in Major League Baseball when he became a member of the
Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. He had to endure many racial insults and
slurs during those first years and the St. Louis Cardinals actually
threatened to go on strike and not play against the Dodgers, if Jackie
was allowed to play.
He was voted
Rookie of the Year in 1947 and in 1949 he won the National League
batting title with a .342 batting average and led the league with 37
stolen bases. He was also voted the leagues MVP.
career Robinson, played outfield and all three bases. He was
selected on six National League All Star teams between 1949 and 1954.
His lifetime batting average was .311 and he had 734 RBIs. He
was a major factor in the Dodgers winning six National League
Pennants. He was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1962.
traded to the New York Giants in 1956, but retired prior to the season
and went on to become a leader in the business world and in Civil
Rights. Shortly before his death he wrote an autobiography
entitled "I Never Had it So Good."
died on October 24, 1972 in Stamford, Connecticut.