We barely touched on the early years of the life of Jackie Robinson. This second half will get deeper into the baseball career of the iconic athlete, as well as hope his race impacted his own life and the lives of so many other Americans throughout history.
Number Nine: He Was a Talented Athlete in Multiple Sports. He was the first student-athlete to letter in four different sports in a season when he was a student at UCLA. He was a star baseball player, but he was also a guard/forward in basketball, a running back and a safety for the football team and a long jumper on the track team.
Number Eight: He Participated in Tennis, Too. Damn it, the man was busy. When he wasn’t being a star athlete in one of the four sports he focused on at UCLA, he also played tennis and won amateur titles when he wasn’t in school.
Number Seven: He Played Professionally in Sports Other Than Baseball. Remember when Michael Jordan played baseball? Yeah, well, a few months before he became the first black player to ever play in Major League Baseball, Jackie Robinson was playing professional basketball. And he played professional football before that as well.
Number Six: He Was a Good Friend of Joe Louis. He and the boxer would both go on to challenge conceptions of racism through their sports careers, but they actually met when they were both serving in the army.
Number Five: He Missed Five Years of Baseball Because of World War II. Between the ages of 21 and 26 years old, Jackie Robinson didn’t play any professional baseball. He didn’t seem to lose his touch, though.
Number Four: Some Players in MLB Protested His Joining the League. Some of these players were on the Brooklyn Dodgers – the team he would go on to play for.
Number Three: Jewish Player Hank Greenberg Showed Solidarity With Jackie. There was racism thrown Greenberg’s way for being Jewish, as well, so he made a point to talk to Jackie about the pressures and challenges of racism in baseball when they met.
Number Two: He Was Known for His Bunting. He was known for his hitting, too, but the reason he bunted was because of his incredible speed. Once he got himself to first base, he could easily steal his way to second and third.
Number One: He Broke Barriers Even After His Baseball Career Ended. He would later before the first black vice president of a major corporation (Chock Full o’ Nuts) and the first black baseball announcer for ABC.