GXB16277 1940s – Jackie Robinson by Paul and Chris Calle © Wind River Studios

In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in professional sports. During his 10-year career in baseball, he overcame numerous obstacles to become one of America’s greatest players. Born Jack Roosevelt Robinson on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, he grew up in Pasadena, California. While attending Pasadena Junior College and the University of California at Los Angeles, Robinson excelled in football, basketball and track, as well as baseball. Following service in World War II, he was signed by Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn club, on October 23, 1945. Robinson first played on a farm team, the Montreal Royals of the International League, but after leading that league in batting average in 1947, he was brought up to the Brooklyn Dodgers. The first black player in the U.S. major leagues, Robinson led the Dodgers to six pennants and one World Series Championship. While proving himself as a superb athlete, Robinson endured racial abuse from all sides — club owners, umpires, fellow players and baseball fans. In his autobiography, Robinson wrote, “I had to fight hard against loneliness, abuse and the knowledge that any mistake I made would be magnified because I was the only black man out there.” In 1962, Jackie Robinson became the first black player to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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