Happy Anniversary: Jackie Robinson debuts, breaks color line
It's April 15, which means it's Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball. Let's celebrate.
Happy Jackie Robinson Day!
It was exactly 67 years ago Tuesday that Jack Roosevelt Robinson made his major-league debut -- becoming the first black player in the modern era -- with the Brooklyn Dodgers and helped change professional sports forever. Robinson's debut, coming April 15, 1947, came before the U.S. military was integrated and was the first major step toward all of sports ending segregation.
In turn, every April 15 is now celebrated across baseball as Jackie Robinson Day.
"Jackie Robinson is an American icon whose accomplishments and leadership continue to inspire us in Baseball and our society at large," MLB commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "Major League Baseball proudly celebrates his enduring legacy, which is reflected by extraordinary on-field diversity of players from all backgrounds, enthusiastic participation in youth baseball and softball, and proven results in diverse business efforts."
As many of us know by now, Robinson and his wife, Rachel, had to face enormous scrutiny through much of his early career, the likes of which not many of us can't even imagine. Despite this, he still thrived as a player and is deservedly enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
"I am quite proud that when Jack stepped onto the field on April 15, 1947, and broke the color barrier in baseball, he helped to further social change in America," said Rachel Robinson in a statement. "On behalf of our family and the Jackie Robinson Foundation, we are thrilled that Major League Baseball continues to honor him and works to ensure that what he stood for will not be forgotten by future generations."
In 10 seasons, Robinson was a six-time All-Star, also winning the Rookie of the Year in 1947 and MVP in 1949. His Dodgers would go to the World Series six times in his career and won the championship in 1955. Robinson's final career line was .311/.409/.474 (132 OPS+) with 1,518 hits, 947 runs, 273 doubles, 54 triples, 137 home runs, 734 RBI and 197 stolen bases.
But it wasn't really about the numbers, was it? Robinson is a rightful legend due to being a trailblazer in integrating the game. Baseball fans and non-baseball fans everywhere owe him a debt of gratitude and there's no better day than April 15.
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