Jackie Robinson Facts
- Born: January 31, 1919, Cairo, GA.
- Occupation: Baseball player
- Education: University of California
- Famous for: Being the first African American to play major team sport
- Primary Team: Brooklyn Dodgers
- Jackie Robinson Day: April 15
- Award: 1949, National League’s most valuable player award
- Batting Average: 3.42
- Posthumous Award: Congressional Gold Medal
- Died: October 17, 1972, Stamford, Connecticut
- Legacy: Robinson Was a Major League Baseball Champion with Many Achievements
- History: When Robinson Joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, Baseball Was Segregated
- Racism: Robinson Endured Much Racial Abuse
- Popularity: Robinson Was Gradually Accepted Partially Due to the Intervention of Others
- Sport: Robinson Played in the World Series 6 Times
- History: Robinson Was Important in the Civil Rights Movement
- Family: Robinson Married Rachel Islum in 1946
- Legacy: Jackie Robinson Starred in The Jackie Robinson Story
- Sport: Robinson Excelled at Many Sports
- History: Robinson Was Arrested for Refusing to Sit at the Back of an Unsegregated Bus
- Robinson Had to Testify Before the Committee on Un-American Activities
- Robinson’s Brother, Matthew, Was Also an Impressive Athlete
- Robinson Co-founded the Freedom National Bank
- Robinson Was the First African American in the Baseball Hall of Fame
- Robinson’s Baseball Number – 42 – Was Retired with Him
- Robinson Was the Youngest of 5 Children
- Robinson Served as Lieutenant in the US Army
- Robinson Was the First Black Television Analyst
- Robinson Was Named after Theodore Roosevelt
- Jesse Jackson Gave the Eulogy at Robinson’s Funeral
Robinson Was a Major League Baseball Champion with Many Achievements
The first of our Jackie Robinson facts reveals that he had an exceptional decade-long baseball career. He achieved the prestigious MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, was an All-Star for six consecutive seasons from 1949 through 1954, and won the National League Most Valuable Player in 1949. He was the first black player ever to receive this award. Robinson played in six World Series and, furthermore, contributed to the Dodgers’ World Series Championship in 1955. He contributed much, not only to the world of sport, but also to the Civil Rights Movement.
When Robinson Joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, Baseball Was Segregated
Jackie Robinson facts teach us that he was an important figure in the early part of the Civil Rights movement. The separation of races was not only legal in sports, but also in segregated hotels, restaurants, toilets, buses, theaters and other institutions. The owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey, received much initial criticism for signing Robinson in 1947. Robinson became the first black player ever to play in the major leagues. In 1955, he helped the Dodgers win the World Series.
Robinson Endured Much Racial Abuse
When Robinson was initially signed by the Dodgers, he endured much racial bullying and taunting from teammates, other baseball teams and baseball fans. Rickey, prior to signing him, had to make him promise not to fight back, even when he and his family received verbal threats. On the road, he had to stay in separate hotels from the rest of the team. Robinson’s perseverance and outstanding averages led to his promotion within the team and his ultimate acceptance as an athlete.
Robinson Was Gradually Accepted Partially Due to the Intervention of Others
Some notable figures helped pave the way towards Robinson’s acceptance by his team and by the baseball community as a whole. Joe Louis, a boxing champion, used his celebrity status to protest against the non-entry of black soldiers into the army, enabling Robinson to become 2nd Lieutenant after the outbreak of WWII. Successful Major League Baseball Executive Branch Rickey first signed Robinson into a major league team, breaking the sport’s color barrier. And Robinson’s teammate on the Dodgers, Pee Wee Reese, famously defended him during an outburst of racial hate during a game. He put his arm around him and said, “You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them.”
Robinson Played in the World Series 6 Times
Uniquely, Robinson played six times in the World Series, culminating in the Dodger’s win in 1955. In 1947, when he played with the Brooklyn Dodgers against the New York Yankees, this was the first time a racially integrated team had ever played in the competition. These matches led to his being awarded the MVP award – as the most valuable player within his team.
Robinson Was Important in the Civil Rights Movement
From his beginnings in the Dodgers, Robinson inspired the gradual desegregation of other sports in America. Furthermore, his practice of not responding with violence to the many aggressive taunts and jibes from others was important for the later Civil Rights movement advocating non-violence. Later, he became more outspoken in words and actions in his support of desegregation and he became a role model for others in the world of sport and beyond. The “Jackie Robinson Experiment” helped many white leaders see that desegregation was not dangerous and could be a positive step forward for society.
Robinson Married Rachel Islum in 1946
According to Jackie Robinson facts about his personal life, he met nursing student Rachel Islum in 1941 while in his final year at UCLA; they married five years later, and had three children together. After Robinson retired from baseball, Rachel resumed her nursing career and eventually became Director of Nursing at Connecticut Mental Health Center. The couple’s oldest child, Jackie Jr died in a car crash in 1971, but the other two, Sharon and David, along with Rachel, both survived Robinson after his death in 1972.
Jackie Robinson Starred in The Jackie Robinson Story
In 1950 a film was made about Robinson’s life; he agreed to play himself. The film presents Robinson’s life and achievements and focuses on his struggle to play baseball in the midst of a great deal of racial aggression. It was directed by Alfred Green. Despite the racial tensions that were around at the time, the film was released to widespread critical praise and box office success. Other films about him include 42, which was made in 2013.
Robinson Excelled at Many Sports
In his early years at Pasadena Junior School, Robinson excelled at many sports including running, basketball and football, as well as baseball. He won championships and victories in all of these, after practicing at home for many hours. He was involved in a mixed race gang, where they would challenge white kids to play sports and bet that they would win. Robinson later achieved many victories at UCLA in football and running.
Robinson Was Arrested for Refusing to Sit at the Back of an Unsegregated Bus
In 1944, Robinson was ordered by the driver to sit at the back of the bus on account of his color. Robinson refused. Because of this, he was arrested and court marshalled. However, because of his reputation, and the intervention of friends, newspapers and the NAACP, he was ultimately acquitted. He was discharged from the army and did not go into combat because of this. This incident was an important step in the Civil Rights movement and a testament to Robinson’s bravery.
Robinson Had to Testify Before the Committee on Un-American Activities
In 1949, Robinson was subpoenaed to testify before The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) because of comments that were made about him. The hearing was about ‘Communist infiltration of minority groups’. Robinson had to respond to a claim that African-Americans would be reluctant to fight for the USA against the USSR.
He did not want to do this, but refusing to do so would have hurt his baseball career. Robinson made a powerful statement about African-Americans and how their social protest was valid and did not make them subversive in any way.
Robinson’s Brother, Matthew, Was Also an Impressive Athlete
Robinson was inspired by his eldest brother, Matthew, to pursue his talent for sports. Matthew was also an impressive athlete who won the silver medal in the 200 meter dash at the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936, coming second only behind the renowned Jesse Owens. However, when Matthew returned home, despite his impressive achievements, he could only find work sweeping the streets.
Robinson Co-founded the Freedom National Bank
Following his successful baseball career, Jackie Robinson facts reveal that he became involved in many projects that were concerned with Civil Rights and integration. One of these was involved founding the Freedom National Bank in Harlem. This was because he thought black people should have a banking institution that was owned and run by themselves. He also marched with Martin Luther King in Birmingham, Alabama, and raised funds for the NAACP’s “Freedom Fund Drive.”
Robinson Was the First African-American in the Baseball Hall of Fame
Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. This museum celebrates significant contributions to baseball. As the first African-American ever to be awarded such an honor, this represented a powerful achievement for not just Robinson himself, but symbolically for African-Americans. The museum continues to honor Robinson’s memory, especially on April 13-15, and also has a thematic unit exploring racial issues.
Robinson’s Baseball Number – 42 – Was Retired With Him
Robinson’s jersey number of 42 was retired with him when he withdrew from the game. This was the first time that a number was retired with the player in the history of Major League Baseball. On Jackie Robinson Day, which was first observed on April 15, 2004, all baseball players are required to wear the number 42 in honor of his memory and his legacy to sport.
Robinson Was the Youngest of 5 Children
Robinson was brought up in relative poverty, born in a shack in Cairo, Georgia. His grandparents were slaves, and his parents were sharecroppers. His father left the family soon after he was born, running off with a neighbor’s wife, and Robinson never saw him again. His mother worked a series of odd jobs to support her children and moved the family to California in search of a better life. Robinson attended John Muir High School and, later, Pasadena Junior College. It was there that he excelled at football, basketball, track, and baseball.
Robinson Served as Lieutenant in the US Army
Between 1942 and 1945, Robinson served as Second Lieutenant in the US Army. It was a major achievement to be allowed to join the Army as an African-American, and this was due in part to the support of his friend, boxing champion, Joe Louis. Louis used his celebrity to fight against the injustice of the Army’s treatment of African-Americans. Robinson did not go into combat though as he was discharged due to his arrest for refusing to sit at the back of a segregated bus.
Robinson Was the First Black Television Analyst
In 1965, Robinson was hired as an analyst for ABC’s Major League Baseball Game of the Week – the first black person to hold such a position. After his retirement from baseball, this media position allowed him to maintain a strong connection with the sport. It also ensured his continued high profile throughout the progression of racial integration in sport and in society as a whole.
Robinson Was Named after Theodore Roosevelt
Jackie Roosevelt Robinson was named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt who died just 25 days before Robinson was born. Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States, and a Democrat who signed the New Coalition Deal, which sought to include labor unions and white business owners with minorities including African-Americans. This name reflects the political leanings of Robinson’s family and foreshadows his own impact in political progress.
Jesse Jackson Gave the Eulogy at Robinson’s Funeral
In later life, Robinson developed diabetes and heart disease and was almost blind by middle age. He died of a heart attack in 1972. Over 2,500 mourners attended his funeral, where Jesse Jackson gave the eulogy. “When Jackie took the field,” he said, “something reminded us of our birthright to be free.” Tens of thousands of mourners lined the streets to Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. After his death, his widow founded the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Jackie Robinson Facts – Facts about Jackie Robinson Summary
Jackie Robinson facts relate to the achievements of this iconic man, both in life and in sport, specifically baseball. He achieved hero status during his lifetime and is still celebrated as an amazing baseball player, and for being the first African-American to achieve great status in the sport. He was also a major contributor to the Civil Rights movement and proved an inspiration for many. He has become a symbol for the movement towards desegregation in the United States and was revered by many, including Martin Luther King. He received notable awards for his considerable achievements, including the Congressional Gold Medal, which was awarded to his widow.