Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born on January 31, 1919 in Cairo, Georgia. Jackie went to college at UCLA where he again starred in track, baseball, football, and basketball. He was the first athlete at UCLA to earn varsity letters in all four sports. He also won the NCAA Championship in the long jump.
After college, Robinson went to play professional football, but his career came to a quick end with the start of World War II. He was drafted into the army.
Soon after leaving the army, Robinson began to play professional baseball for the Kansas City Monarchs. At this time in history, black players were still not allowed to play in MLB. He batted .387.
One day during a game, he was approached by Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Branch wanted to sign him to help the Dodgers win the pennant.
At the start of the 1947 baseball season, Robinson was called up to join the Brooklyn Dodgers. On April 15, 1947 he became the first African-American to play baseball in the major leagues.
Over the next ten years, Jackie Robinson was one of the best baseball players in the majors. He had a career batting average of .311, hit 137 home runs, and had 197 stolen bases. He was named to the All-Star team six times and was the National League MVP in 1949.
Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier in baseball paved the way for other African-American players to join the majors.
Happy Birthday Jackie!