Life Story of Jackie Robinson - the First Black Baseball Player on National Team
Think of a time when everything was segregated. Jackie Robinson lived at that time. Water fountains, seats on a bus, bathrooms, teams, schools, and so much more. Jackie Robinson broke those barriers and started to play on all-white teams, lived in an all-white neighborhood, and joined the Army. He was the first black person to ever play on National Team and faced a lot of backlash because of the color of his skin.
Jackie Roosevelt Robinson was born outside of Cairo, Georgia on a cotton plantation. His date of birth is January 31, 1919. His father, Jerry, left his family, for another woman when Jackie was only 6 months old. His mother, then moved him and his four other siblings to California to live with family. They moved in with his mother’s brother. Jackie’s uncle lived in Pasadena. His mother, Mallie, worked as a maid. When his mom got enough money, they bought their own house, in a white neighborhood. While living in that neighborhood, Jackie and his family got called names, and their neighbors would call the cops on them for no apparent reason. To make money Jackie sold newspapers and hot dogs at the Rose Bowl Stadium. In his teenage years, Jackie became apart of a gang. He was known for shoplifting and vandalizing property.
Jackie Robinson went to John Muir High School. After he graduated, he went on to Pasadena Junior College where he participated in four sports. Those sports were football, basketball, baseball, and track. After Jackie graduated from Pasadena Junior College, he enrolled in the University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA, in 1939. He was the first student to ever be a four-sport athlete and letter in every single one. In 1941, though, he was forced to leave UCLA because of financial issues. Jackie Robinson received many awards and recognition from his years at both Pasadena Junior College and UCLA. During his time at the Junior College, he was named the Region’s Most Valuable Player in Baseball, in 1938. For a couple of years he was at UCLA he won many titles and awards. These include: running back “greatest ball carrier” in sporting news, in basketball, he led the Pacific Coast Conference in scoring for two seasons, won the NCAA broad jump title in 1940, won swimming championships, and reached semifinals in the National African American Tennis Tournament.
After College, Jackie Robinson moved to Honolulu. The reason he moved to Hawaii was that he got drafted to play in the Semi-Professional Football team there. They were called the Honolulu Bears. He only was in Hawaii from September 1, 1941- December 5, 1941. He left Honolulu two days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
In 1942, Jackie was drafted into the United States Army. His rank was the second lieutenant. He had an ankle injury that prevented him from seeing combat. In 1944, he was arrested while in boot camp. The reason he was arrested because he would not move to the back of the bus. He was court-martialed and then honorably discharged in November of 1944.
Jackie met his wife, Rachel Isum, at UCLA. Rachel was born and raised in northern California. She also did not really see any segregation until she would go to the south. She was a freshman when Jackie was a senior. She was studying to become a nurse when they met. It was one of Jackie’s teammates on the football team who set them up. The two got married on February 10, 1946. She is now the founder of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Together the two had three kids Jack, Sharon, and David. Jack was the only one that really struggled with his dad being famous like he was. Mainly because he was named after Jackie, therefore he was compared to Jackie and told he would never be as good as his dad would be. Because he compared to his dad and told him he would never be as good as he was, Jack struggled in school, and with family relationships. Jack then enlisted in the Army and fought in the Vietnam war. After he got out of the Army he became a drug addict but went to rehab. He ended up being killed in a car accident in 1971, just a year before Jackie died. He was only twenty-four years old when he died. Sharon, their only daughter, is an author and consultant for the MLB. David is a coffee farmer in Tanzania.
Jackie Robinson played for the Kansas City Monarchs before being drafted to a farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Branch Rickey first noticed Jackie when he was playing for the Monarchs. His position was a shortstop. Playing for the Monarchs, Jackie’s pay was four hundred dollars a month. After playing with the Monarchs, Jackie went to go play for the Montreal Royals because of Branch Rickey.
Branch Rickey, President of the Brooklyn Dodgers, was the first person to look at recruiting black players. In the summer of 1945, he saw Jackie playing shortstop in Kansas City. Then, in 1946, Rickey sent him to Montreal for spring training and to warm up for his rookie season. During spring training, some of Jackie’s teammates started a petition to stop him from playing. The team manager, Leo Durocher, stopped it. After his rookie year, in 1947, he got an offer to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He had one rule that he had to follow through. It was that he had to be quiet for three years. This means that he had to deal with Rickey, had to refrain from faces, slurs, discrimination from fans, opposing players, and his own teammates. On April 15, 1947, Jackie made his debut at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. In 1949 Jackie had to return to Georgia for a baseball game against the Atlanta Crackers. When the team got to Atlanta, they met Klu Klux Klansmen who did not want an integrated team to play an all-white team. They were not the only team that gave Jackie trouble, one other person who gave him a lot of trouble was Ben Chapman. He would yell at Jackie any chance he got. To make more money, in the off-season Jackie would sell home appliances. In 1956, Jackie was traded to the Giants but ended up retiring before he could even play a game.
Jackie was not treated the same as all of the other teammates. He had to use different restrooms, water fountains, and even different sleeping arrangements when they would stay in hotels. During the season the wives were only allowed to go to one or two games a year. With segregation, Jackie and his wife received a lot of hate mail. One of them said that Jackie would be shot in a certain city.
Jackie Robinson died at the age of fifty-three. He died from a heart attack on October 24, 1972. Over the years of his professional career, Jackie had many accomplishments. These accomplishments included: in 1949 he was named MVP, he had a batting average of .342, stole home 19 times, in 1962 he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, got the leagues most outstanding rookie, played first base instead of second, led in steals with 29, the national poll had Jackie the second most popular celebrity in first was Bing Crosby, 1987 MLB named him Rookie of the Year, then in March 2005 President George W. Bush awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, his widow accepted it. Jackie also got a day named after him, April 15. Newspapers also came up with several names for Jackie some of which called him the Gridiron Phantom, and one said he was the Jim Thorpe of his race. In the international league, Jackie had a batting average of .349 and a fielding percentage of .985. Jackie Roosevelt Robinson was the first black person to ever play on the National Team and faced a lot of backlash because of the color of his skin.
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