Jackie Robinson was the first african american to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. In those years racism was still a strong issue in America, but not for Brooklyn Dodgers (now Los Angeles Dodgers). Thanks to the team’s manager, he broke the color barrier in MLB the 15th April of 1947 playing at first base. However, racial tension existed in the Dodger clubhouse, and some Dodger players insinuated they would sit out rather than play alongside Robinson, but the coach took his side: “I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a damn zebra. I’m the manager of this team, and I say he plays.”
That year, Robinson led the league in sacrifice hits, with 28, and in stolen bases, with 29, winning the “Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award”.
In 1997, MLB “universally” retired his uniform number, 42, across all major league teams; he was the first pro athlete in any sport to be so honored. MLB also adopted a new annual tradition, “Jackie Robinson Day”, for the first time on April 15, 2004, on which every player on every team wears No. 42. These recognitions are, not only for his sport career, but also for his efforts for the Civil Rights Movement and his fight against racism.
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