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Jackie Robinson: The Man Who Changed Baseball Forever

When it comes to Black History Month there are the few staples that naturally come to mind like Rosa Parks, MLK Jr, and of course, Jackie Robinson. As the first Black man to branch off into the MLB, Robinson paved the way for Black athletes nationwide. His vigor, commitment to the game and his people is what led him to be one of the most remembered and accoladed athletes from his time.

Born in Cairo, Georgia in 1919 to a family of sharecroppers, Jack Roosevelt Robinson came from humble beginnings. Mallie Robinson, his mother, was a single mother who raised Jackie in addition to his 4 siblings. Being the only Black family on their block they faced a lot of prejudice, as expected for the time, but it didn’t break the Robinson family spirit.

Excelling in sports from early, Jackie used his athletic talent to forge his own way through life. During his time at UCLA, he became the first athlete to get Varsity letters in four sports:Baseball, Basketball, Football, and Track. In 1941 Robinson became an addition to the All-American football team. After financial hardships hit, Robinson was forced to leave college and later enlisted in the U.S. army. Naturally excelling at everything he does, after just 2 years Robinson progressed to second lieutenant. Robinson left the army with honorable discharge after he was court martialed due to his objections with incidents of racial discrimination.

Robinsons' professional Baseball career started in 1945 when he played his first season in the Negro Baseball League traveling throughout the Midwest with the Kansas City Monarchs. Two years later the president of the Brooklyn Dodgers at the time, approached Robinson about playing for his team. At that time the Major Leagues were yet to accept African Americans since 1889 when the league segregated. Robinson wore that Brooklyn Dodger uniform proudly, pioneering the integration of professional athletics nationwide. Breaking the color barrier in Americas’ favorite pastime was a courageous act that challenged the longstanding belief in racial segregation. Robinson ended his rookie season with the Dodgers as the National League Rookie of the Year with 12 home runs, 29 steals, and a .297 average. In 1949 he was selected as the league's Most Valuable Player of the Year and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Shortly after his son and namesake was tragically killed, Jackie Robinson passed away in his CT home following a heart attack at the age of 53. Not only did Robinson leave behind a wife, and his 2 remaining children but also a legacy of perseverance and commitment to excellence.