CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Friday is Jackie Robinson Day. It was 75 years ago when Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball as he suited up for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Players across Major League Baseball will wear Jackie Robinson’s number 42 Friday, to celebrate the day when Robinson made his major league debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. He became the first black player to play in what had been an all white league.
Robinson’s story is one of unwavering perseverance as he battled hate with courage and dignity, and an intense drive to succeed and to be accepted. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 1947, the National League MVP in 1949 and helped the Dodgers win the World Series in 1955. He played 10 seasons in the big leagues and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
He was the first and he blazed a path that opened the doors for athletes of color in all the major sports.
Robinson’s son David spoke about his father’s upbringing and how it prepared him for the journey he would take, “He came out of poverty, his grandmother was a slave… he knew the horrors of the enslavement of our people, and the discrimination and oppression.”
Several artifacts from Robinson’s career are up for auction in New York City today, including a jersey he wore during the 1951 season and the bat he used at the 1949 All Star game.
There very few people who have altered the course of history the way Jackie Robinson did. He not only broke the color barrier and forever changed baseball but he broke down racial barriers that for too long segregated American society. His courage and strength in the face of ignorance continue to inspire us today.