Jackie Robinson is one of the most well-known Major League Baseball Players to ever play the game.
Every April 15th in the MLB, every player of every team wears the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson's legacy. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig says, " 'April 15, 1947, is a day that resonates with history throughout Major League Baseball. With all Major League players, coaches and umpires wearing Jackie's No. 42, we hope to demonstrate the magnitude of his impact on the game of baseball. Major League Baseball will never forget the contributions that Jackie made both on and off the field.' "
Robinson was born January 31, 1919 in Georgia and in 1947 was the first player to break the color barrier by becoming the first African-American in Major League Baseball.
Robinson attended UCLA and participated in football, track, basketball, and baseball. Outside of baseball, he led the Pacific Coast Conference (later the Pac-10) in scoring, twice, in basketball; becoming the NCAA champion in 1940 in the broad jump (25 feet, 6.5 inches), and becoming an All-American football player. Robinson was the first ever four-sport letter winner for UCLA
During his professional baseball career, he was the National League (NL) Rookie of the Year in 1947, led the NL in stolen bases in 1947 and 1949, and led second basemen in double plays every year from 1949 - 1952. Robinson was selected as the NL MVP in 1949, won the 1949 batting title with a .342 average, was a National League All-Star from 1949 - 1954. His phenomenal skills assisted the Brooklyn Dodgers in achieving six pennant title wins and one World Series Championship in 10 years.
Jackie Robinson was also very involved in his community and helping his fellow man. Beyond baseball, Robinson opened a men's apparel store in Harlem, New York in 1952 that was in business until 1958. He also signed a contract with WNBC and WNBT to serve as Director of Community Activities in 1952, became VP of Chock Full O'Nuts in 1957.
Robinson served in numerous campaigns and on the board of directors for the NAACP from 1957 - 1967. He established his own construction company in 1970 to build housing for families with low incomes. He starred in "The Jackie Robinson Story" in 1950, and wrote his autobiography, "I Never Had It Made."
Today, The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF), started by his widow Rachel, is a "national, not–for–profit, organization founded in 1973 as a vehicle to perpetuate the memory of Jackie Robinson through the advancement of higher education among underserved populations.
"Uniquely, JRF provides generous four–year college scholarships in conjunction with a comprehensive set of skills and opportunities to disadvantaged students of color to ensure their success in college and to develop their leadership potential. JRF's hands–on, four–year program includes peer and professional mentoring, internship placement, extensive leadership training, international travel and community service options, the conveyance of practical life skills, and a myriad of networking opportunities. JRF's strategic combination of financial assistance and support services results consistently in a nearly 100% college graduation rate." For more information on The Jackie Robinson Foundation, click here.
The movie "42" gave insight into the true life story of Jackie Robinson as he was chosen to lead the integration process. Baseball fans around the world salute Jackie Robinson for his grand accomplishments for the sport and our nation, and the MLB is proud to represent his spirit every April 15th as every player wears his number, 42.