On Sept. 12, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first player to receive the Rookie of the Year Award. Robinson posted a .297 batting average with 12 home runs, 48 RBIs and 29 stolen bases in his first Major League season.
He led the Brooklyn Dodgers to a National League championship and a trip to the World Series, where the Dodgers fell to the New York Yankees in seven games.
Robinson made his MLB debut with the Dodgers on April 15, 1947. Therefore, on April 15, 2004, the MLB started the now annual “Jackie Robinson Day” tradition. On this commemorative day, every player on every team wears No. 42 in honor of Robinson.
Robinson batted .311 and recorded 137 home runs, 734 RBIs and 197 stolen bases during his illustrious career. He was named the NL MVP in 1949 as he won the batting title recording 124 RBIs. Robinson also won a World Series with the Dodgers in 1955 and has his number 42 jersey retired by every MLB team.
More important than the Hall-of-Fame career was what Robinson did for the sport of baseball. He came into the league at a time where racism was very much prevalent. Robinson broke the color barrier and became the first African American to play in a MLB game in the modern era.
The six-time All-Star was able to put up MVP-type numbers despite being bombarded by racist comments and difficult experiences. Robinson became more than just a baseball superstar. He was a social role model.
Robinson passed away on Oct. 24, 1972, but will be remembered as one of the greatest baseball players to ever live.
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