- NAME: Jackie Robinson
- OCCUPATION: Baseball Player
- BIRTH DATE: January 31, 1919
- DEATH DATE: October 24, 1972
- Did You Know?: Before becoming a professional baseball player, Jackie Robinson played football for the Honolulu Bears.
- Did You Know?: While serving as a lieutenant for the U.S. Army in 1944, Jackie Robinson was court-martialed after refusing to move to the back of a segregated bus. He was ultimately acquitted.
- Did You Know?: Before offering Jackie Robinson the contract that integrated professional baseball, Branch Rickey personally tested Robinson's reactions to racial slurs and insults that he anticipated.
- Did You Know?: Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the major leagues in 1947, signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
- Did You Know?: Jackie Robinson had an older brother, Matthew, who won a silver medal in the 200-meter dash at the 1936 Olympics. He came in second to Jesse Owens.
- Did You Know?: After retiring from baseball, Robinson helped establish the African American-owned and -controlled Freedom Bank.
- EDUCATION: John Muir High School, Pasadena Junior College, University of California, Los Angeles
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Cairo, Georgia
- PLACE OF DEATH: Stamford, Connecticut
- Originally: Jack Roosevelt Robinson
Best Known For
Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the major leagues in 1947, signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1947, National League MVP in 1949 and a World Series champ in 1955.
Jackie Robinson - Full Episode (22:48)
Watch a short video about Jackie Robinson and the many barriers he faced as Major League Baseball's first African-American player.
Jackie Robinson broke many boundaries as one of the greatest players in Brooklyn Dodger and Major League Baseball history.
While serving in the military, Jackie Robinson was arrested for refusing to move to the back of a segregated bus. In 1947, he made history when his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers ended racial segregation in Major League Baseball.
In his quest for excellence and equality, all-star athlete Jackie Robinson shatters the barriers of racism to become the first black baseball player to play in the major leagues.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Rickey knew there would be difficult times ahead for the young athlete, and so made Robinson promise to not fight back when confronted with racism. Rickey also personally tested Robinson's reactions to the racial slurs and insults he knew the player would endure. 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.
Despite the racial abuse, particularly at away games, Robinson had an outstanding start with the Royals, leading the International League with a .349 batting average and .985 fielding percentage. His successful year led to his promotion with the Dodgers, and subsequently, his history-making designation as the first African-American player in Major League Baseball.
The harassment continued, however, most notably by the Philadelphia Phillies and their manager, Ben Chapman. During one infamous game, Chapman and his team shouted derogatory terms at Robinson from their dugout. Many players on opposing teams threatened not to play against the Dodgers. Even his own teammates threatened to sit out. But Dodgers manager Leo Durocher informed them that he would sooner trade them than Robinson. His loyalty to the player set the tone for the rest of Robinson's career with the team.
Others defended Jackie Robinson's right to play in the major leagues, including League President Ford Frick, Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler, Jewish baseball star Hank Greenberg and Dodgers shortstop and team captain Pee Wee Reese. In one incident, while fans harassed Robinson from the stands, Reese walked over and put his arm around his teammate, a gesture that has become legendary in baseball history.
Jackie Robinson succeeded in putting the prejudice and racial strife aside, and showed everyone what a talented player he was. In his first year, he hit 12 home runs and helped the Dodgers win the National League pennant. That year, Robinson led the National League in stolen bases and was selected as Rookie of the Year. He continued to wow fans and critics alike with impressive feats, such as an outstanding .342 batting average during the 1949 season. He led in stolen bases that year and earned the National League's Most Valuable Player Award.
Robinson soon became a hero of the sport, even among former critics, and was the subject for the popular song, "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?" An exceptional base runner, Robinson stole home 19 times in his career, setting a league record. He also became the highest-paid athlete in Dodgers history, and his success in the major leagues opened the door for other African-American players, such as Satchel Paige, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron.
Robinson also became a vocal champion for African-American athletes, civil rights, and other social and political causes. In July 1949, he testified on discrimination before the House Un-American Activities Committee.
View study guides about Jackie Robinson and other famous figures. Learn biographical facts, get activity ideas, discussion questions and more.
profile name: Jackie Robinson profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Learn more about the lives of African-Americans who have made extraordinary achievements in their fields, with our collection of Black History Groups.
Explore our curated collections of African-American figures, including:
Check out BIO’s original video series, American Freedom Stories, about the historic events of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, and the leaders and everyday heroes who fought to make racial equality a reality. Watch videos.
Included In These Groups
Sometimes your mug isn't as original as you'd like it be. Considering there are over 7 billion people on this earth, someone's bound to be your doppelganger, and these historical figures and celebrities prove just that.
Explore our Famous Lookalikes' pictures and see whom we think are spittin' images of each other.
Famous Lookalikes 131 people in this group
Hollywood stars often get flack for their extravagant lifestyles, and sometimes they seem to be far removed from the rest of us. Not so for all celebrities, though—a surprising number of stars have taken on the big responsibility of serving in the United States Armed Forces. We know them as actors, athletes, musicians, and comedians, but these brave individuals have actually put their lives on the line for their country. Here's a look at celebrity enlistees.
Celebrity Enlistees 84 people in this group
Who was the first African-American boxing champ? How about World Cycling champ? Who was the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal? What year did Jackie Robinson break baseball's color barrier? Who was Althea Gibson and what first did she achieve? Detail our collection of pioneering African-American athletes for the answers to these and many more questions, and explore our African-American Firsts: Athletes photos gallery.
African-American Firsts: Athletes 37 people in this group