Jackie Robinson Celebrity Life
Jack Roosevelt Robinson aka Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB). He broke through the prejudice against the people of color by playing in the major league as a first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Jackie Robinson was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia. He was the youngest of the five children born to Jerry and Mallie Robinson. His mother raised all the children as a single parent and had to face financial hardship.
Jackie attended the John Muir High School (Muir Tech) in Pasadena, California. While at Muir Tech, Jackie played four sports at the varsity level – baseball, football, basketball, and track. His athletic talents were first recognized by his older brother Mack (who himself went on to win a silver at the 1936 Summer Olympics).
In the spring of 1942, Jackie was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II but he never got to face combat. In 1944, Robinson was arrested and court-marshaled after he refused to give up his seat in a segregated bus. This incident became prominent to the public eye due to his excellent reputation and with the support of his friends, some black newspapers and the NAACP.
He was finally acquitted of the charges and given an honorable discharge. This was one of the many incidents in which Robinson showed courage and stood up strongly against racial discrimination. Robinson had met his future wife, Rachel Isum, in the early 1940s, when they were both attending UCLA. They got married on February 10, 1946, and became parents to three children.
After his discharge from the Army, Jackie was signed by the Kansas City Monarchs, a Negro League team. Baseball, during that time, was segregated and the white and the African Americans played in separate leagues.It was during his time with the Kansas City Monarch, when he along with other players was interviewed by Branch Rickey, an executive of Brooklyn Dodgers. Rickey was looking for players who had the temperament as well as the talent to withstand the pressure of the integrating MLB.
Robinson let his game do the talking and ultimately, he silenced the critics. He was awarded the “Rookie of the Year” in 1947. Though Robinson was accepted into the Dodgers at a relatively old age of 28, he still went on to score .311 batting average during his 10-year long career.
In 1949, he was the first black player to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award when he hit a .342 average, stole 37 bases and achieved a career-high 124 RBI. Robinson was an All-Star every year from 1949 to 1954. During his 10 years with the Dodgers, Robinson and his team won the National League numerous times and finally, Robinson helped the team achieve its penultimate victory, the World Championship.
Life After Retirement
On January 5, 1957, Robinson retired and became the first African American to be inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
He was vocal about the civil rights, spoke for the African athletes and other social causes, during his time with the NAACP till 1967. Robinson never stopped lobbying for racial integration in sports.
At the age of 53, Robinson passed away due to heart conditions and diabetes on October 24, 1972.
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