Jackie Robinson

robinson5January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972

It would be incredibly easy to just speak of Jackie Robinson in the terms of his single most famous accomplishment: becoming the first black player in modern Major League Baseball. But, it would miss out on so much. For instance, Jack was a tremendously gifted ALL-AROUND athlete. He excelled in multiple sports through high school and eventually lettered in FOUR different sports while attending UCLA. He played semi-professional football until the U.S. was dragged into World War II in 1941. Because of the latter, he was drafted into the Army, but never saw combat due to a trumped-up court martial (he was ultimately acquitted). After the war, Robinson signed to play with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues. He was immediately identified by a number of major league teams – some serious, some not so much – as a legitimate candidate to become the first black player in the majors. Ultimately, Brooklyn Dodgers owner, Branch Rickey, convinced Robinson to sign with the Dodgers’ minor league club. The controversy was swift and came from all sides. Several Negro Leaguers complained that Robinson wasn’t even the best black player (fair argument) and there was, of course, the obvious fall-out from pro-segregation folks. Despite Robinson’s sometimes fiery temperament, Rickey asked him to have “guts enough not to fight back.” It was this agreement that allowed Robinson to succeed in the minors and make his major league debut with the Dodgers on April 15, 1947. The floodgates of integration soon followed and the sport – and American culture at large – would never look the same. Jackie Robinson would play for the Dodgers for 10 years, playing in 6 World Series, earning an MVP award and, ultimately, becoming the first black inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Outside of baseball, Jack was a businessman, a civil rights activist and an anti-drug crusader. He died at the age of 53 of complications from diabetes and heart disease. He has since been honored and recognized more than any other player in the history of the game. In 1997, the MLB universally retired Robinson’s number “42” for all teams. April 15th of every season is now known as “Jackie Robinson Day.”

Burial

Cypress Hills Cemetery – Brooklyn, NY

 

Specific Location

Section 6, Lot P, Grave 8; At the intersection of Cypress Road and, well…Jackie Robinson Way. Across from the the Memorial Abbey.

cypresshills_robinson

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