Jackie Robinson Day..a baseball tradition

Jackie Robinson made his major league debut on April 15, 1947, for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He joined the team just 5 days prior. Robinson's debut wasn't like any other baseball player. Fans in the crowds were yelling racial slurs at him and wanting him off the field. Jackie Robinson was the first African American to step foot onto a baseball field aside from the Negro Leagues. Robinson played 1 season with the Kansas City Royals and hit .414 with a homer and drove in 16 runs. Given he only had 58 at-bats, the Pasadena City College alum had 4 double and 1 triple, he also scored 12 runs as well. He stepped into the batter's box against Boston Braves pitcher Johnny Slan and grounded out. His name will be remembered for the rest of however long sports will be around. Not just for how well he did on the field, but off the field as well for segregating the color barrier. No more than 2 1/2 months later, a gentleman from Long Island University (Brooklyn Campus) named Larry Doby became the second African American to play Major League baseball. Doby debuted for the Cleveland Indians in a pinch-hit appearance against Earl Harrist and the Chicago White Sox. Doby struck out and went on to collect a .156 batting average that season with 2 RBIs and a year later was ranked 29th in the MVP voting.

Jackie Robinson had his number formally retired by all of baseball on April 15, 1997, which was the 50th anniversary of his debut. Long time New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was the last player to wear number 42 until he retired. Aside from this year and baseball being postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball teams have all worn the number 42 in remembrance of Jackie Robinson. Robinson went on to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a 6-time All-Star and won the Rookie of the Year award the year he broke the color barrier. He hit 137 career home runs with 734 RBIs and hit .311 with 197 total stolen bases. Robinson won the National League MVP in 1949 becoming the first African American to do so, beating out the Cardinals Stan Musial. Robinson and the rest of his teammates were World Series champs in 1955 beating the New York Yankees in 7 games. This was also the 5th time out of the previous 9 years in which these two teams had met in the World Series.

So Jackie Robinson thank you for becoming a well-known sports figure not just in baseball, but sports worldwide.

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