May 25, 2020

Baseball legend bridges racial divide in sports


This archived article was written by: Alex Burrola

Jackie Robinson is known for breaking a lot of barriers, not only in baseball, but culturally as well. He was involved in multiple sports in high school, he played baseball, football, tennis, basketball and ran track. His career continued when he went to college at UCLA where he played baseball, football, basketball, and ran track. After winning multiple athletic awards at UCLA, he decided he wanted to play professional football. Robinson didn’t get far into his professional football career before he was drafted into the army at the beginning of World War II in 1939. It was not until 1944 that Jackie was able to leave the army with an honorable discharge. Once he left the army he began playing baseball for the Kansas City Monarchs. During this time, African Americans were not allowed to play Major League Baseball so they created the Negro Baseball League. During Robinson’s time playing for Kansas City, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers showed interest in having him on his team. In 1947, Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers making him the first African American athlete to play Major League Baseball in the 20th century. Although Robinson was performing well on the field, he was faced with a lot of adversity. Early in his baseball career, he experienced harsh racism and threats from everywhere he played, not only from the fans, but his own teammates. During his first season a group of his teammates decided that they would rather strike than play on the same field as Robinson. This action was not tolerated by the management, and it was expressed that Jackie was going to play no matter what. Over time the amount of racism declined, and Jackie became one of the best baseball players of all time. He was named Rookie of the Year his first year playing Major League Baseball and continued to get many awards over his baseball career such as: National League MVP in 1949 and was on the All-Star team six times. Robinson had a career batting average of .311 with 137 home runs and 197 stolen bases. He was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. This paved the way for all African-American baseball players with a dream to play Major League Baseball.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email