Jackie Robinson Bio: The First Black Player to Play in MBL

Jackie Robinson once said that life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives. Justifying his statement, Robinson devoted his life to significantly impacting Major League Baseball and civil rights.

Jackie put an end to decade long color barrier in baseball by becoming the first-ever African-American player to play in Major National League with the white people.

Being a black American, Jackie had to face a lot of racism in his life, but he stood up to himself, and that’s how he became the change and broke that decade-long racism in baseball.

He is the inspiration to many people out there, and he opened the door of possibilities to the black community, and that’s why he is a hero.

The history-making Baseball star Jackie Robinson
The history-making Baseball star Jackie Robinson

Robinson became the change, and his contribution to baseball is unmeasurable. But, unfortunately, the baseball star left the world on October 27, 1972.

However, he has left an indelible mark in baseball history, and his name and contributions will be remembered throughout history.

This article will talk about the life of Late Baseball Champion Jackie Robinson and his contribution to baseball and American history.

But, before we drive to the details, let’s look at his quick facts first.

Quick Facts

Full NameJack Roosevelt Robinson
NameJackie Robinson
Nick NameDark Destroyer, The Colored Comet, Jack-Jack, Jackie the Robber, J-Rob
Date of BirthJanuary 31, 1919
Birth PlaceCairo, Georgia, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
EthnicityAfrican American 
ReligionChristian
Zodiac Sign Aquarius  
Death DateOctober 24, 1972
Death Age53 years
Death Place Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
Height5’10” (1.8 meters)
Weight205 lbs (98 kg)
Hair ColorGrey
Eye ColorBlack 
Father’s NameJerry Robinson  
Mother’s NameMallie (McGriff) Robinson
Siblings4; Mack Robinson, Edgar Robinson, Willa Mae Robinson, Frank Robinson
EducationUniversity Dropout
High SchoolJohn Muir High School
Pasadena Junior College
UniversityUniversity of California
Marital StatusMarried 
Wife Rachael Robinson (m. 1946)
Children3; Jackie Robinson Jr., Sharon Robinson, and David Robinson
ProfessionFormer baseball player 
League  Major League Baseball (MLB)
Bats and ThrowsRight
ClubKansas City Monarchs
Brooklyn Dodgers
Debut Year 1945 (MLB) and 1947 (NL)
Retirement1957
MLB Statistics141 home runs, .313 batting average, and 761 runs
Major AchievementFirst Black Baseball Player to play in Major baseball league
AffiliationJackie Robinson Foundation
Net Worth  $6 million
MerchJersey, 42, (Book: Who was Jackie Robinson?, Jackie Robinson?: My own story)
Last Update September, 2022

Jackie Robinson Bio | Early life and Education

On January 31, 1919, Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia. He was born the youngest child to Mallie (mother) and Jerry Robinson (father).

Jackie had four siblings Edgar, Frank, Matthew (nicknamed “Mack”), and Willa Mae. The real name of Jackie Robinson is Jack Roosevelt Robinson.

His middle name was kept in honor of former President Theodore Roosevelt. So it was because Jackie was born 25 days after the president died.

But, a year after Jackie was born, his father left the family, and a single mom raised him. So they moved to Pasadena, California, in search of better opportunities.

It was hard for her mom to raise five children, given that she didn’t have much money. So she did several jobs to support the family.

Jackie Robinson (Second from left) with his mom and siblings
Jackie Robinson (Second from left) with his mom and siblings

But, her mom did her best to give the children the basic needs, and that’s how Robison was able to attend college despite the financial hardships.

Jackie was a hardworking child, and he had already made a name in college for being a great athlete. He was a great baseball, basketball, football, and track player.

After being a famous athlete in college, Robinson went to get his University degree from the University of California, LA.

Jackie was the first-ever athlete in the university to earn a varsity letter in those four sports. However, Jackie had to drop out of the university due to financial problems.

Then, Jackson moved to Hawaii to pursue his career in professional football. But, the timing was wrong as the USA had just entered World War II.

So, more than sports, it was about war. So, he served in U.S. Army from 1942 to 1944.

U.S. Army

Robinson was drafted in 1942 to the segregated Army Cavalry Unit. He was located at Fort Riley.

But, it was hard for Robinson to get drafted into U.S. Army. He came from the black community, and racism was prevalent there.

However, a protest was held to include them in the U.S Army as per the Army’s Initial July 1941 guidelines as race-neutral.

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Luckily, Robinson was among the few black applicants approved and drafted into the U.S. Army. A year after Robison served in the army, he was promoted as Second Lieutenant.

But, Robinson couldn’t make it to the combat as he was convicted with charges of sitting in an unsegregated seat on the bus. After that, his military career went downhill.

He was discharged in November 1944 from the military and started his professional baseball career then after.

Jackie Robinson Bio | Professional Career

During that time, professional baseball was segregated, meaning there were separate leagues for white and black people.

Initially, Jackie played for Negro Leagues under Kansas City Monarchs. He was one of the best black players in the Negro Leagues.

Jackie’s baseball skills were so impressive that he caught the attention of the all-white basketball team, Brooklyn Dodgers, and signed him up.

On April 15, 1947, Robinson broke the baseball color line by becoming the first black player to play with the whites in Major League Baseball. As a result, it ended the racial segregation of baseball players.

It was a historical day when Robinson made his debut as the number 42 in a game against New York Yankees. Likewise, it was the first time a black baseball player played with the whites in the national league.

It was a huge change. But, unfortunately, most people were not ready, so Robinson had to face a lot of racism for playing with the whites.

It was hard for Robinson to be the change, but it was worth it as he became the inspiration to many others.

Jackie Robinson playing baseball for Brooklyn Dodgers
Jackie Robinson playing baseball for Brooklyn Dodgers

After Robinson, many black players started playing in the national leagues as well. Furthermore, Robison became one of the greatest baseball players in history.

He was awarded Rookie of the Year and won the Most Valuable Player in 1949. Also, he was also voted for the 1949 All-Star Game.

He won six league championships and one world series in his stellar baseball career.

Retirement 

Robinson made his final baseball appearance in the 1956 World Series. Then, due to his deteriorating health, Robinson thought to take a break.

He was a diabetic patient, and it was hard for him to play on the field.

After the league, Dodgers traded Robinson to New York Giants, unaware that Robinson had already thought of retiring from baseball.

Instead, Robinson quit his baseball career to become an executive member of Chock Full O Nuts due to his health.

The retirement of Robinson was made public through Look Magazine, which had bought the retirement story rights from Robinson.

On January 5, 1957, the baseball champion officially retired from baseball at 37.

The Honors and Jackie Robinson Day.

In 1962, Jackie was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, becoming the first black player to do so.

Robinson used to play with the uniform number 42. Dodgers and Major League Baseball retired the number 42 an honor of Robinson and his contribution to baseball.

This means no other player can play with that number, and that number was reserved for Robinson only.

It was the first time in any sport that the uniform number also retired with the player, and it’s the most excellent form of respect to the player. 

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Today, American baseball honors April 15 as Jackie Robinson Day, and every player wears uniform number 42 as a tribute to the late Jackie Robinson.

Jackie Robinson Bio | Awards and Honours

  • Second most famous man in the country after Bing Crosby in 1947
  • National and American League Rookie of the Year Awards were renamed the “Jackie Robinson Award.”
  • April 15 is celebrated as Jackie Robinson’s Day.
  • First Black player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Rookie of the Year 1947.
  • Most Valuable Player in 1949
  • First African-American Vice President of major American Corporation.

Jackie Robinson Bio | Civil Right Activist

The MLB player had to face a lot of racism in his life. But, he was vocal about his civil rights and stood for civil rights.

Once, Robinson was traveling on a bus when the bus driver told him to give up his seat and move to the back of the segregated bus. He refused to go back. As a result, the cop arrested him and charged him with an offense.

He had to face such discrimination many times, even after being a baseball icon. The racism followed him everywhere, but he stood for himself, and that’s how he was able to become change and break that racism to some extent.

Being the inspiration for many black people and being the change, Robinson became the voice of many voiceless people.

He served on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) board till 1967.

In July 1949, he testified about racial discrimination to the House Un-American Activities Committee.

In 1952, he publically called out New York Yankees for the racism he had to face from them.

Jackie Robinson Bio | Wife and Children

Robinson met Rachel Isum, who was studying nursing at UCLA. The university couple dated for six years and finally married on February 10, 1946.

Rachel Robinson was an academic nurse. Later, she became an assistant professor at Yale School of Nursing and director of nursing at Connecticut Mental Health Center.

The couple was blessed with Jackie Robinson Jr., Sharon Robinson, and David Robinson. But, Robinson had to face a tragic event in his life with the death of his eldest son.

The wedding photo of Jackie Robinson and his wife, Rachel Isum
The wedding photo of Jackie Robinson and his wife, Rachel Isum

Robinson’s eldest son Jackie Robinson Jr enrolled in the army and served in the Vietnam War, where he was severely wounded.

The war affected Jackie Robinson Jr. negatively as he struggled with drug addiction. He went to counseling and rehabilitation centers to cope with drug addiction.

But, his life ended tragically when he was killed in an accident on June 17, 1971. 

Jackie Robinson Bio | The Death

The death of the 24-year-old son had a huge shock to Robinson. But, unfortunately, Robinson also followed his son a year later.

The legendary player died of a heart attack on October 24, 1972, at 53. His funeral was held at Upper Manhattan’s River Church three days later.

More than 2500 people, including his family, former teammates, and famous baseball players came to the funeral. In addition, tens of thousands of people joined the procession route of Robinson.

The baseball star was buried right next to his son. The place is now known as Jackie Robinson Parkway.

Jackie Robinson Bio | Net Worth

The net worth of Jackie Robinson is estimated to be $6 million. He earned this net worth from his career as a baseball champion.

Apart from this, part of his net worth also comes from his business, books, filmography, and brand endorsements.

Books:

Filmography:

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FAQs

What is Jackie Robinson known for?

Jackie Robinson is the first African American professional baseball player who broke the color barrier in baseball.

At that time, black and white players used to play in different leagues. However, he was the first black player to be signed to play in the all-white baseball team.

Is Jackie Robinson the first black baseball player?

No, Moses Fleetwood Walker was the first black baseball player. However, Jackie Robinson is the first black baseball player to play with the whites in the national league.

Was Jackie Robinson a Buffalo Soldier?

Yes, Jackie Robinson was a Buffalo soldier. He served in U.S. Army from 1942 to 1944 to a segregated Army cavalry unit, the 9th Cavalry Regiment.

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