Jackie Robinson was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia but grew up in California. From the time he was a child, he was a great athlete and played baseball, football, basketball, tennis and ran track. Jackie, however, loved baseball.
Jackie grew up in a time where discrimination was accepted. African-American people like Jackie did not have the same rights at White people. They were not accepted in Major League Baseball, so Jackie’s baseball career started with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues – a baseball league for African-American players.
In 1946, however, Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey decided to sign Jackie Robinson to a Major League contract. Jackie would become the first African-American athlete in 57 years to play in Major League Baseball, thus breaking the “color barrier.” Many fans and fellow baseball players refused to accept Jackie as an equal. He continued to experience discrimination and racism. Nevertheless, Jackie excelled on the field, and quickly became one of Major League Baseball’s best players. In 1949, he was named Major League Baseball’s most valuable player (MVP). In 1955, he led the Brooklyn Dodgers to their only World Series Championship.
In 1956, Jackie Robinson retired from Major League Baseball. He was voted a member of the Major League Baseball Hall-of-Fame in 1962 and died in 1972. Today, Major League Baseball has permanently retired Jackie’s number 42 to honor his memory and courage. This means no player on any team will ever be able to wear 42 again.