(1919-72) Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia. , on January 31,1919 to Jerry and Mallie Robinson. He grew up in Pasadena, California. In highschool and at Pasadena Junior College he showed great athletic skill in track,basketball, football, and baseball.
He left school in 1941 and was drafted thefollowing year for Army service during World War II. After receiving a medicaldischarge in 1945, Jackie Robinson decided to tryout for the Boston Red Sox, butended up not making the team. He spent a year playing baseball with the KansasCity Monarchs of the Negro National League. Later he played in the 1946 seasonwith the Montreal Royals, a Dodgers farm club, and led the International Leaguein hitting with a . 349 average.
He stole 40 bases and scored 113 runs. When theDodgers opened their 1947 season, Robinson was playing second base. On April 10,1947, Jackie Robinson became the first black player to sign a major leaguecontract in the 20th century. During his first game, Jackie went hitless inthree at-bats, but flawlessly handled 11 chances at first base. In 1947, Jackiehit .
297 and stole 29 bases while also playing first base for the Dodgers. Jackie led the National League in stolen bases and was named rookie of the year. The main problem he had to overcome was controlling his short temper afterhearing so many racial remarks from the crowds and other ball players, includinghis own teammates. On July 12, 1949, Jackie Robinson made his All-Star gamedebut for the National league.
This was the first time that a black playerparticipated in an All-Star game. On October 6, 1949, Jackie Robinson scored theonly run in the Dodgers 1-0 win over the New York Yankees in game two of theWorld Series. This was the only game that the Dodgers won in the 1949 WorldSeries. In 1949, with a .
342 average, he was named the most valuable player inthe league. He was one of the game’s best base runners, with a total of 197stolen bases. The Dodgers won six National League pennants during Robinson’s tenplaying years. On December 13, 1956, the Brooklyn Dodgers traded Jackie Robinsonto the Dodger’s rival team, the New York Giants in hopes that Robinson would beable to boost the low attendance.
He was being traded for a pitcher named DickLittlefield and $35,000 in cash. At this time, Robinson was having problems withhis legs and was thinking about quitting baseball. Less than a month later,Jackie retired from baseball in 1956 with a lifetime batting average of . 311. OnJanuary 23, 1962, the Baseball Writers Association of America elected JackieRobinson to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Robinson becamethe first African-American to be elected. After retirement he became avice-president of a New York restaurant firm and the president of aland-development company. From 1964 to 1968 he served as special assistant forcivil rights to Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York. He also worked withdrug-prevention programs.
Robinson starred in the motion picture The JackieRobinson Story which was made in 1950 and was the author, with Alfred Duckett,of I Never Had It Made in 1972. On October 24, 1972, Jackie Robinson died from aheart attack at the age of 53 in Stamford, Connecticut. Ten days earlier,Robinson had thrown out the first pitch at the beginning of the second game inthe 1972 World Series.