We remember Jackie Robinson, who was born in Cairo, Georgia, on this day in 1919. He died October 24, 1972.
Robinson was one of the biggest sports stories of the 20th century, as we see in this biography from his Hall of Fame page:
At the end of his first season, Robinson was named the Rookie of the Year. He was named the NL MVP just two years later in 1949, when he led the league in hitting with a .342 average and steals with 37, while also notching a career-high 124 RBI. The Dodgers won six pennants in Robinson’s 10 seasons, but his contributions clearly extended far beyond the field.
He retired with a .311 career batting average plus 137 HR & 734 RBI in 1,382 games. Robinson was one of the key players in those Dodgers’ teams that won the NL pennant in 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956. The Dodgers finally beat the Yankees in the 1955 World Series thanks to that late inning catch by Cuban Sandy Amoros.
Back in 1947, or the same spring that Robinson broke the color line, Robinson and his teammates spent some spring training in Cuba. It gave many Cuban fans a chance to see the man that would open the door for so many players from the island. Jackie was followed by black Cuban baseball players, from Orestes Miñoso to many others.