MLB games have been postponed over the last 48 hours amid social unrest in the United States of America. This is a good time to remember and reflect on the life of a man who was more than the game of baseball. Of course, he is remembered for his play on the field. However, what he started created change. Jackie Robinson is who changed the whole culture of baseball.
August 28th is being used to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day this year but is usually on April 15th. This is the anniversary of the March on Washington in 1963, as well as the date in 1945 when Brooklyn Dodgers President and General Manager Branch Rickey met with Jackie Robinson to discuss his future in Major League Baseball.
In 1947, the Dodgers called up Jackie Robinson to the Majors a week prior to Opening Day. On April 15th, Robinson made his debut in front of a crowd of nearly 26,000. However, around half those fans were African-Americans. He failed to get his first hit, but he was able to draw a walk and score a run in the Dodgers 5-3 win. This caused African-American baseball fans to become interested when the Dodgers came to town.
Robinson’s debut was met with mostly positive reviews. However, there were mixed reactions from newspapers and other white baseball players. However, some Dodger players said they would sit out rather than play alongside Robinson. The brooding ended when Dodgers’ management took a stand for Robinson.
Jackie Robinson played ten years in MLB. During those ten years, he batted .311, had 37 home-runs, 734 RBI’s, and 197 stolen bases. In 1997, baseball commissioner Bud Selig ordered the retirement of Jackie’s #42, not only with the Dodgers, but for all teams across the Major Leagues.
Civil Rights Movement
Once retired from the game, Jackie Robinson became a vocal leader in the Civil Rights Movement. Along with leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks who helped changed the culture and society of the United States.
It might seem that Jackie Robinson just affected life around the game of baseball, but in reality, he changed the world. When Robinson came into baseball, America was just coming out of World War II. Jackie Robinson couldn’t have come along at a better time. He brought people together through baseball.
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