Jackie Robinson and Major League Baseball Essay

Submitted By Nitrashante
Words: 1601
Pages: 7

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia. Breaking the color barrier, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play in baseball's major leagues. The youngest of five children, Robinson was raised in relative poverty by a single mother. He attended John Muir High School and Pasadena Junior College, where he was an excellent athlete and played four sports: football, basketball, track, and baseball. He was named the region's Most Valuable Player in baseball in 1938. Robinson's older brother, Matthew Robinson, inspired Jackie to pursue his talent and love for athletics. Matthew won a silver medal in the 200-meter dash—just behind Jesse Owens—at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Jackie continued his education at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he became the university's first student to win varsity letters in four sports. In 1941, despite his athletic success, Robinson was forced to leave UCLA just shy of graduation due to financial hardship. He moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he played football for the semi-professional Honolulu Bears. His season with the Bears was cut short when the United States entered into World War II. From 1942 to 1944, Robinson served as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. He never saw combat, however; Robinson was arrested and court-martialed during boot camp after he refused to move to the back of a segregated bus during training. He was later acquitted of the charges and received an honorable discharge. His courage and moral objection to segregation were precursors to the impact Robinson would have in major league baseball. After his discharge from the Army in 1944, Robinson began to play baseball professionally. At the time, the sport was segregated, and African-Americans and whites played in separate leagues. Robinson began playing in the Negro Leagues, but he was soon chosen by Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, to help integrate major league baseball. He joined the all-white Montreal Royals, a farm team for the Brooklyn Dodgers, in 1946. He later moved to Florida to begin spring training with the Royals, and played his first game in Ebbets Field for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.

Rickey knew there would be difficult times ahead for the young athlete, and made Robinson promise to not fight back when confronted with racism. From the beginning of his career with the Dodgers, Robinson's will was tested. Even some of his new teammates objected to having an African-American on their team. People in the crowds sometimes jeered at Robinson, and he and his family received threats. Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia. Breaking the color barrier, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play in baseball's major leagues. The youngest of five children, Robinson was raised in relative poverty by a single mother. He attended John Muir High School and Pasadena Junior College, where he was an excellent athlete and played four sports: football, basketball, track, and baseball. He was named the region's Most Valuable Player in baseball in 1938. Robinson's older brother, Matthew Robinson, inspired Jackie to pursue his talent and love for athletics. Matthew won a silver medal in the 200-meter dash—just behind Jesse Owens—at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Jackie continued his education at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he became the university's first student to win varsity letters in four sports. In 1941, despite his athletic success, Robinson was forced to leave UCLA just shy of graduation due to financial hardship. He moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he played football for the semi-professional Honolulu Bears. His season with the Bears was cut short when the United States entered into World War II. From 1942 to 1944, Robinson served as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. He never saw combat, however; Robinson was…