Jackie Robinson was another great baseball player. Jackie was an
exceptional athlete. He excelled in track, baseball, football, and basketball
at UCLA. There, he became the first person ever to win athletic letters
in all four sports. In 1941, Jackie began playing professional football
for the Los Angeles Bulldogs. But, he was drafted into World War ll where
he served 31 months. He had a life time batting average of .311. His first
professional baseball experience was played with the Monarchs, a team in
the Negro American Baseball League, in 1945. He played so well that he
was brought to the attention of Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn
Dodgers. Rickey thought it was time to break the color barrier that existed
in baseball, and signed Jackie to play for the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers'
top minor league team.
After one season with the Royals, Rickey decided to move Jackie to play
with the Dodgers for the 1947 season. Jackie would be the first black person
ever to compete in the major leagues. Although he faced tremendous racism
and pressure, Jackie was voted "Rookie of the Year." In 1949, his best
year, he led the league in hitting and was voted most valuable player.
During the 10 years Jackie played for the Dodgers, they won the National
League title six times. Jackie retired from baseball after the 1956 season.
After retiring, Jackie became a public speaker for African-American rights.
Later, he was also voted into the "Baseball Hall of Fame." Jackie Robinson
died of diabetic complications in 1972.