Jackie Robinson broke the race barrier in baseball, a line that had segregated and separated the sport for over 50 years. The second baseman spent his career a Brooklyn Dodger, playing from 1947-56.
Born to a Georgian sharecropping family in 1919, Jack Roosevelt Robinson took to sports immediately. While attending UCLA, he became the first athlete to have varsity letters in four different sports: basketball, track, football, and of course baseball. He was on the 1941 All-American football team, and excelled in all sports while at UCLA, but was forced to leave because of financial difficulties. He enlisted in the Army, but was honorably discharged a few years later after being court marshaled for his response to racial incidents.
Jackie Robinson played the 1945 season with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Baseball League. His time with them would be short; he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers after being scouted in 1947. He was the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues since 1889.
Surprisingly enough, he did not suffer as much discrimination as one would have expected for the time. He attempted to challenge racial segregation in the army and was met with a discharge; but for every bit of failure there he wildly succeeded in changing the face of segregation on the ball field and at least the attitude in America. Perhaps this was because of the waves he began making immediately: the Rookie of the Year had 12 homers, 29 steals and a.297 average. He was declared the MVP of the National League the year following with a.342 batting average.
Jackie Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in1962. His career batting average was.311. He had 137 home runs out of 1,518 hits, 734 RBIs and a whopping 197 stolen bases. He passed away on October 24, 1972 at the age of 53, but his legend lives on in all Baseball players.