Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Dodgers Sign Jackie Robinson
On Oct. 30, 1945, Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to a deal with the Montreal Royals, an affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers. By 1947, Robinson was in the majors and on his way to winning the Rookie of the Year award. Robinson is most known for being the first African-American to play baseball in the major leagues.
Robinson would have a great Major League career batting .311, with 1,518 hits, 137 home runs, 734 RBI’s and 197 stolen bases in his 10 years in the Major Leagues. Some of the accolades Robinson collected during his tenure with the Dodgers were being named an All-Star six times, being named the 1947 Rookie of the Year, winning the 1949 National League batting title, also winning the 1949 National League MVP, he was also a two-time National League stolen bases champion in 1947 and 1949, and finally being crowned a World Series Champion in 1955.
Robinson was inducted into Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 on the first ballot in which he appeared on with 77.5 percent of the vote. He was the first even African-American to be elected into Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Robinson's career is generally considered to mark the beginning of the post–"long ball" era in baseball, in which a reliance on raw power-hitting gave way to balanced offensive strategies that used foot speed to create runs through aggressive base running.
Robinson exhibited the combination of hitting ability and speed, which exemplified the new era. He scored more than 100 runs in six of his ten seasons (averaging more than 110 runs from 1947 to 1953), had a .311 career batting average, a .409 career on-base percentage, a .474 slugging percentage, and substantially more walks than strikeouts (740 to 291).
Robinson was one of only two players during the span of 1947–56 to accumulate at least 125 steals while registering a slugging percentage over .425 (Minnie Miñoso was the other).
In 1997, Major League Baseball "universally" retired his uniform number 42, across all major league teams; the first pro athlete in any sport to be so honored.
Since that time, Major League Baseball has adopted a new annual tradition, "Jackie Robinson Day," in which all players on all teams wear his number 42 jersey. Robinson was also named a member of the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.
Robinson was also known for his pursuits outside the baseball diamond. He was the first black television analyst in Major League Baseball, and the first black vice-president of a major American corporation. In the 1960s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank, an African-American-owned financial institution based in Harlem, New York. In recognition of his achievements on and off the field, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.