Jack Roosevelt Robinson, better known to the world as Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in Major League Baseball–he broke the color barrier when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947–was born in Cairo, Georgia, on January 31, 1919. In his ten-year Major Leagues career Robinson participated in six World Series and contributed to the Dodgers’ storied championship over the Yankees in 1955. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. He died, sadly, at the young age of 53. Join us in remembering him, through these photos and quotes, on what would have been his hundredth birthday.
One of the all-time greats and a good bet for baseball’s Hall of Fame upon retirement, Jackie Robinson fought himself out of a couple of mid-season slumps and has battled back to have one of his better years. He doesn’t hit a lot of home runs, but he can beat the opposition with any one of his many talents. If he isn’t running or bunting them crazy, he’s saving games with miraculous catches and winning games with ‘clutch’ hits. Certainly Jackie is one of America’s greatest all around athletes.” [Official Program, 1952 World Series.]
Jackie Robinson is another of the ‘old’ Dodgers who came through with a tremendous performance in 1953. Despite his banged up knees, Robinson, one of the truly great all-around athletes this nation has produced, kept among the league’s leading hitters all season. He also proved himself an invaluable team player by plugging any gap in Charley Dressen’s line-up. For years rated among baseball’s top second basemen, Robbie moved to third base this Spring to make room for the rookie sensation, Junior Gilliam. Then, after an emergency stint at first base, he made the big switch to left field to solve Dressen’s problem out there.” [Official Program, 1953 World Series.]
Jackie Robinson (Baseball. Born, Cairo, GA, Jan. 31, 1919; died, Stamford, CT, Oct. 24, 1972.) Jack Roosevelt Robinson is more than a baseball figure. He is a goliath among Americans. Introduced by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 as the first black man to play in the modern history of the major leagues, Robinson accomplished astounding sociological feats as well as excelling on the diamond. Enduring epithets and abuse heaped upon him because of color, Robinson not only endured but thrived and prospered. He began his pro career with Brooklyn’s farm club, the Montreal Royals, and came to Ebbets Field as a first baseman. Within two seasons, he was the National League’s M.V.P. when, in 1949, he batted .342 and had 124 r.b.i. as the second baseman for the pennant-winning Dodgers. Over his ten-year career, Robinson batted .311 and played not only first and second base but also third and left field with equal skill. He was an aggressive and daring baserunner. During the off-season following the 1956 campaign, Robinson was traded from Brooklyn to the New York Giants but refused to report and retired instead.” [Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports.]
This post is by Joseph Ditta, Processing Archivist.