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From BR Bullpen
Jack Roosevelt Robinson
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 204 lb.
- School Pasadena City College, University of California, Los Angeles
- High School Muir High School
- Debut April 15, 1947
- Final Game September 30, 1956
- Born January 31, 1919 in Cairo, GA USA
- Died October 24, 1972 in Stamford, CT USA
 Biographical information
"He was a great competitor who could do it all. He was a great player, a manager's dream...If I had to go to war, I'd want him on my side." - Leo Durocher
Jackie Robinson was a Hall of Fame infielder famous for breaking baseball's color line and starting the reintegration of Organized Baseball. While he was not the first African American in the majors - nineteenth century players Fleet and Welday Walker preceded him, and some claims have been made that Providence's Bill White was also African American - he led baseball into becoming the multiracial sport it is today.
When he was elected by baseball writers to Cooperstown it was in recognition of both his role as a pioneer and superb performance on the field in a career held to a modest length by baseball's unwritten prohibition against Blacks.
 Early life
Robinson was born in Georgia, but his mother moved the family to Pasadena, CA after they were abandoned by his father. He attended Muir High School in Pasadena and played baseball, basketball and track. He then went to UCLA on an athletic scholarship. Robinson was a multi-sport star and the only person in the history of UCLA athletics to letter in four different sports. In addition to playing baseball, he was a leading running back in football, a top scorer in basketball, and an excellent sprinter and long-jumper. On the football team, Robinson was teammates with Kenny Washington and Woody Strode, the two men who re-integrated the NFL in 1946. Washington played for the Los Angeles Angels in 1950 and his son Kenny Washington Jr. also played minor league ball in the Los Angeles Dodgers chain in 1964-1969. Robinson's older brother, Mack, finished second to Jesse Owens in the 200m in the 1936 Olympics, and it's likely that Jackie would have been an Olympian except for the cancellation of the 1940 games.
 In the military
After leaving UCLA a few credits short of graduation, Robinson joined the US Army to serve in the Second World War. After initially being rejected, he was able to force his way into Officer Candidate school and was commissioned as a Lieutenant. While training at Fort Hood, TX, Robinson refused to move to the back of a bus when a white woman demanded that he do so. Even though Army regulations specifically backed him, Robinson was court-martialed for insubordination. He was acquitted, but was still unfairly branded as a racial agitator. The Army found a pretext to give him an honorable discharge soon afterward.
 Negro and minor leagues
Following his discharge, Robinson signed with the Negro League Kansas City Monarchs for the 1945 season. He was a successful shortstop for the Monarchs and was named to the East-West All-Star game. While playing for the Monarchs, he was scouted by Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who intended to sign top African American players to break the color line. Rickey picked Robinson as the best candidate, and signed him to great publicity after the 1945 season.
Rather than send Robinson straight to the majors, Rickey decided to have him spend one year in the minors. Rickey's exact reasoning for doing so is unclear, but it was probably with the idea that Robinson could win support of his right to play in the majors by succeeding in the minors. If so, his hopes were dashed. While Robinson did his part, winning the 1946 International League MVP playing for the Montreal Royals, the hoped-for support did not materialize. In 1960 he was elected to the International League Hall of Fame.
 Negro Leagues Career Statistics
|1945||Kansas City Monarchs||NAL||14||53||11||23||7||1||1||15||1||8||.434||.660|
 Major league player
Rickey went ahead anyway, naming Robinson the Dodgers' starting first baseman for the 1947 season. Dodgers' manager Leo Durocher squelched a threatened strike by several Dodgers' players who didn't want to play with an African American teammate, and Commissioner Happy Chandler did the same when other teams threatened to refuse to play the Dodgers. Robinson also faced on-field taunting by opposing teams and fans. Despite the turmoil, Robinson proved himself, batting .297, leading the league with 29 stolen bases, and winning the newly created BBWAA Rookie of the Year Award. He also was was voted Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News (which had opposed integration). The BBWAA Award was officially named for Jackie Robinson in 1997.
With his place in baseball firmly established, Robinson went on to great success. He was moved to a more natural postion, second base, in 1948. In 1949, he won the NL batting title and was named the NL MVP. Besides winning the batting title in 1949, he led the league in stolen bases (2nd time) and runs produced - besides finishing in the top five in several other batting departments. Later in his career he was moved away from second base, dividing his time between third base and the outfield. The Dodgers attempted to trade Robinson to the New York Giants, but Robinson refused to report to his new team and retired instead. In his 10 years with the Dodgers, they won the NL pennant six times and the World Series once.
 After baseball
Following his playing career, Robinson served as Vice President of Chock Full O'Nuts, a coffee chain that made a point of hiring African Americans, and on the board of directors of the NAACP. He remained active in civil rights and politics until late in his life. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1962, alongside Bob Feller, in his first year of eligibility. He was the first African American enshrined in the Hall.
His number 42 has been retired across baseball in tribute to his career accomplishments. He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously in 2003, only the second baseball player to receive the award. His life story has become much bigger than baseball; it is regularly taught to children as part of their school curriculum on civil rights, and he has been the subject of two major motion pictures: The Jackie Robinson Story (1950) in which Robinson played himself, and 42, released in 2013.
 Career analysis
Robinson's skill set is not well understood. He was an excellent fielder at several positions, something that is not usually remembered. He was also frequently put by Dodger managers in the clean-up spot in the line-up, where he served as a "second lead-off man" - he had the power to drive in runs if there were players on base, but he could just as easily hit a single or earn a walk to start a rally. As one example, he batted clean-up behind Duke Snider in the fifth game of the 1952 World Series, getting four walks and a stolen base in a game that the Dodgers won in the 11th inning. He was a fiery player who wanted to be a winner, and he had good speed even though there was usually not much need to steal a base on a team with such good hitting.
There is really no player in baseball history that is a lot like Robinson, but one modern player - Bobby Abreu - is somewhat similar in terms of high average, decent power, good walks, speed, and fielding ability.
"Every time I look at my pocketbook, I see Jackie Robinson." - Willie Mays
 Notable Achievements
- ML Rookie of the Year Award (1947)
- 6-time NL All-Star (1949-1954)
- NL MVP (1949)
- NL Batting Average Leader (1949)
- NL On-Base Percentage Leader (1952)
- 2-time NL Stolen Bases Leader (1947 & 1949)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1949)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 6 (1947-1949 & 1951-1953)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1949)
- Won a World Series with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955
- Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1962
|Stan Musial||Jackie Robinson||Jim Konstanty|
|ML Rookie of the Year|
|No Award||Jackie Robinson||Alvin Dark|
 Further Reading
- Maury Allen: Jackie Robinson: A Life Remembered, Franklin Watts, New York, NY, 1987.
- Joseph Dorinson and Joram Warmund, ed.: Jackie Robinson: Race, Sports, and the American Dream, M.E. Sharpe, Armonk, NY, 1998.
- Jonathan Eig: Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 2007.
- David Falkner: Great Time Coming: The Life of Jackie Robinson, from Baseball to Birmingham, Simon and Schuster, new York, NY, 1995.
- Roger Kahn: "The Lion at Dusk", in The Boys of Summer, Perennial Classics, Harper and Collins Publishers, New York, NY, 2000, pp. 386-411 (originally published in 1972).
- Mary Kay Linge: Jackie Robinson: A Biography, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 2007.
- Arthur Mann: The Jackie Robinson Story, Grosset and Dunlap, New York, NY, 1956.
- Arnold Rampersad: Jackie Robinson: A Biography, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, 1997.
- Jackie Robinson: I Never Had It Made, Ecco Press, New York, NY, 1995 (originally published in 1972).
- Rachel Robinson and Lee Daniels: Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait, Harry N. Anrams, New York, NY, 1996.
- Sharon Robinson: Stealing Home: An Intimate Family Portrait by the Daughter of Jackie Robinson, Random House, New York, NY, 1960.
- Carl T. Rowan and Jackie Robinson: Wait Till Next Year: The Life Story of Jackie Robinson, Random House, New York, NY, 1960.
- Scott Simon: Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball, John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY, 2002.
- Leverett T. Smith: "Robinson, Race, and Brooklyn", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 38, Number 1 (Summer 2009), pp. 117-122.
- Lyle Spatz, ed.: The Team That Forever Changed Baseball and America: The 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2012. ISBN 978-0803239920
- Jules Tygiel: Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy, Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 1997 (originally published in 1983).
 Related Sites
- The Young Jackie Robinson
- Jackie Goes to Wrigley
- Seven things you might not know about Jackie Robinson
- Jackie on an old TV show called the Cavalcade of Stars]
- The Jackie Robinson Story (short article and 1950 movie) The Southpaw