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Video:Profile of Jackie Robinson

with Megan Murphy

Want to learn more about the life and baseball career of Jackie Robinson? Watch this About.com video to see a brief biography of this baseball legend.See Transcript

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Transcript:Profile of Jackie Robinson

 

Hi, I'm Megan Murphy for About.com, and today we're profiling the man widely credited with breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, Jackie Robinson.

Early Life of Jackie Robinson

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia in 1919 to a family of sharecroppers.  A year after his birth, his father left the family, and Jackie and his mom and siblings moved to California.

UCLA and Jackie Robinson

Jackie was an outstanding athlete even as a young man, and he attended the University of California-Los Angeles where he lettered in four sports:  baseball, basketball, football and track.   In 1941, he was named an All-American in football while at UCLA.  Due to financial hardship, he was forced to leave UCLA and enlisted in the Army.  That career was cut-short too, this time, because he was court-martialed for protesting racial inequality within the U.S. military.  That court martial was eventually lifted, and Robinson was given an honorable discharge.

In 1945, Jackie played one year for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Baseball Leagues.  But it was the year 1947 which would change Jackie's life, and the landscape of Major League Baseball, forever.

Jackie Robinson: April 15, 1947

In 1947, Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey approached Jackie about joining the Dodgers.  Due to segregation, the Major Leagues had not had a black baseball player since the 1880s.  Robinson made his Major League debut with the Dodgers, April 15, 1947 at Ebbets Field.  Many teams and opposing players had promised to strike if Robinson was allowed to play against them but National League President Ford Frick and Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler threatened any player who protested with heavy fines.

Robinson's Inaugural Rookie of the Year

Jackie Robinson went on to become Rookie of the Year with the Dodgers in 1947 making him the first ever Rookie of the Year in professional baseball, That season he hit 12 home runs, stealing 29 bases and bat .297 on the season.  By 1949, he had won the National League MVP in a season in which he also won the batting title by hitting .342.  Robinson was a perennial All-Star between the years 1949 and 1954.

Robinson also helped lead the Dodgers to six World Championship appearances, and one World Championship in a ten year span.

Jackie Robinson's Accomplishments

Among his honors, he was chosen:

*A six time All-Star

*A lifetime .311 hitter

*A perennial leader in batting average, runs scored and stolen bases

 

Jackie Robinson retired from baseball in 1957.  He would eventually be enshrined in Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1962 in his first season of eligibility.  He died from complications from diabetes and heart disease in 1972 at the age of 53.

 

Major League Baseball continues to honor Jackie Robinson's legacy every year with commemorations, and it also supports his legacy through scholarships for deserving students.

 

And that's a brief look at the life and career of the man credited with breaking baseball's color barrier, Jackie Robinson. For more information, be sure to check out About.com.

 

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