“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” -Jackie Robinson
Today, January 31st, 2019, we celebrate what would have been Jackie Robinson’s 100th birthday. While the majority of baseball fans were not alive when Jackie first started playing in the Major leagues, we cannot deny the impact that he has left on this beloved game. It is a remarkable thing what Robinson did and I believe that as baseball fans and Americans, we can forever be grateful for Jackie Robinson.
For those of you that don’t know Jackie all that well, let me give you a brief history about his baseball career. As everyone knows and should know, Jackie Robinson was the very first African-American baseball player to play in Major League Baseball. He made his debut in 1947 for the Brooklynn Dodgers. During that season, Jackie had an exceptional year which would earn him the Rookie Of The Year award. Two years later, Robinson would win the National League Most Valuable Player award. This achievement stands out because he was also the first African-American player to win this award.
From 1949 to 1954, Jackie Robinson was selected to six All-Star games. Additionally, in his ten year Major League career, Robinson played in six World Series with the Dodgers and ultimately won the Championship in 1955. Fans of baseball will recall this World Series because of Robinson’s successful steal of home plate. Robinson’s career numbers are as follow: .311 Batting Average, 137 Home Run’s and 734 RBI’s.
Jackie Robinson played his final game on October 10th, 1956. Eight years later, he would be inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He lived a productive post baseball life, helping communities and starting businesses. Sadly, Jackie Robinson passed away on October 24th, 1972. He was only 53 years of age.
In 1997, Jackie Robinson’s iconic number “42” was retired across Major League Baseball. This was the first time in any sport that a number was universally retired. Now, any stadium to happen to be at, you will always see a blue “42” on display. Seven years later, MLB announced that April 15th would be “Jackie Robinson Day”. A day where every player in the league would wear the number “42” on their backs. This symbolized that no matter who you are or what team you play for, you’re the same as every other player.
Jackie Robinson was a true pioneer and an American hero. His adversity and resilience prevailed and he came out on top. Robinson’s name and number “42” will live on forever, as will his legacy. Thank you Jackie Robinson and Happy Birthday.