Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson (Jack Roosevelt Robinson), 1919–72, American baseball player, the first African-American player in the modern major leagues, b. Cairo, Ga. He grew up in Pasadena, Calif., where he became an outstanding athlete in high school and junior college. While attending (1939–41) the Univ. of California at Los Angeles, he established a wide reputation in baseball, basketball, football, and track.

Robinson left college to support his mother, but in 1941 played professional football with the Los Angeles Bulldogs of the Pacific Coast League. He entered the army in World War II and was discharged as a lieutenant in 1945. In Oct., 1945, Branch Rickey, then president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, signed Robinson to play for the Montreal Royals, a Brooklyn farm club in the International League. Despite several incidents in spring training in the South and many inconveniences during the season, Robinson—the first African-American ballplayer in that league—excelled as a second baseman and won the league batting crown.

In 1947 precedent was shattered when Robinson was brought up to the Brooklyn club. African Americans had not played in big-league competition in the 20th cent., but resistance dwindled as Robinson excelled. In 1949 he won the National League batting crown, hitting .342, and was named the NL's most valuable player. Robinson played his entire career (1947–56) with Brooklyn, where he set fielding and batting records and gained a reputation for base stealing. Other African Americans began playing in the major leagues soon after his debut. In 1962 Robinson became the first African American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

See his autobiography (1972); J. Tygiel, Baseball's Great Experiment (1983) and Extra Bases (2002); A. Rampersad, Jackie Robinson (1997); S. Simon, Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball (2002); J. Eig, Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season (2007).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Jackie Robinson: Selected full-text books and articles

The Team That Forever Changed Baseball and America: The 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers By Lyle Spatz; Maurice Bouchard; Leonard Levin University of Nebraska Press, 2012
"I Never Had It Made" Revisited; the Political, Economic, and Social Ideology of Jackie Robinson By E, Michael Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, Vol. 23, No. 1, January 31, 1999
Glory Bound: Black Athletes in a White America By David K. Wiggins Syracuse University Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Wendell Smith, the Pittsburgh Courier - Journal, and the Campaign to Include Blacks in Organized Baseball, 1933-1945"
Slugging and Snubbing: Hugh Casey, Ernest Hemingway, and Jackie Robinson-A Baseball Mystery By Gietschier, Steven P Nine, Vol. 21, No. 1, Fall 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Jackie Robinson: My Journey of Appreciation By Abramson, Elliott M Nine, Vol. 13, No. 1, Fall 2004
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Major League Baseball By Rubinstein, William D History Today, Vol. 53, No. 9, September 2003
Jackie Robinson and Dixie Walker: Myths of the Southern Baseball Player. (Essay) By Powell, Larry Southern Cultures, Vol. 8, No. 2, Summer 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Sport and the Color Line: Black Athletes and Race Relations in Twentieth-Century America By Patrick B. Miller; David K. Wiggins Routledge, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Jackie Robinson"
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