Throwback Thursday: Jackie Robinson breaks color barrier (Oct 30, 1945)


MCT Photo

Fans pose with Jackie Robinson’s retired number outside of Dodgers Stadium. Robinson played with the Dodgers for 10 years. Robinson’s number is retired by every MLB team.

In the early days of the MLB offseason of 1945, Brooklyn Dodger general manager Branch Rickey took a bold risk that would forever change professional sports. On Oct. 30th, he signed Jackie Robinson, the first ever African-American MLB player.

Rickey and the Dodgers got a lot of heat for this. Throughout Robinsons’ first season, the Dodgers were rejected for service at hotels and were threatened by people everywhere they traveled.

“It’s important to separate racial issues from jobs and professions because race should not effect someone’s evaluation of their skill,” said junior Kevin Kohmescher. “You want the best people on your team or staff and race plays no part in someone’s overall skill.”

Phillies manager Ben Chapman threw racial slurs at Robinson during several at-bats when Philadelphia and Brooklyn squared off. This got Robinson very upset. Luckily, Robinson controlled his anger on the field and did not do anything about it.

“He should have been looked at as someone who deserved to be on the team,” said sophomore Madelyn Heldman. “People should not have judged him based on his race.”

The Dodger finished his career as a National League MVP (1949), a World Series champion (1955), and a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame (1962). Robinson died on Oct 24, 1972 of a heart attack.

Every year on Apr 15 all 30 MLB teams partake in Jackie Robinson Day. Each MLB player wears his number, number 42, to honor the anniversary of his MLB debut.

“It’s such a cool day in baseball,” said sophomore Noah Stern. “Everybody knows that this day is different from others and it’s a great way to remember him.”