April 15, 1947 marks the exact day Jackie Robinson stepped onto the field as a Brooklyn Dodger, forever making his brave stance and legacy in the world of baseball forever.
After Robinson played in an African-American league for some time, on this exact day, president Branch Rickey approached Jackie about joining the Brooklyn Dodgers which was a completely new, exciting option for him. While the excitement of playing in a new sphere within baseball was intriguing, Robinson was also courageous enough to face many of the challenges that were present during this era.
When Jackie first donned a Brooklyn Dodger uniform, he pioneered the integration of professional athletics in America, which is one of the many reasons why his legacy remains so important and groundbreaking in baseball today. As Jackie worked to break down this racial barrier, he courageously challenged and succeeded in dismantling various preconceived notions about not only baseball, but also segregated sport as a whole.
Robinson’s career is generally considered to mark the beginning of the post–”long ball” era in baseball, in which a reliance on raw power-hitting gave way to balanced offensive strategies, which were completely new to the sport.
These new offensive strategies included the use of foot speed to create runs through aggressive baserunning, while also exhibiting the ability to not only hit well, but also run incredibly fast. The combination of both hitting the well with such precision, along with his speed quickly gained international attention. Interestingly enough, Robinson also averaged more than 110 runs from 1947 to 1953 and had an impressive .311 career batting average.
Due to his incredible speed, he accumulated 197 stolen bases throughout his career. As his stolen bases out rank many of his competitor’s numbers, Robinson titled to by David Falkner as “the father of modern base-stealing.” It is clear that Robinson was definitely a rare breed in terms of skill, tenacity and dedication to becoming the best he could in his respective field.
According to various sources, historical statistical analysis points to the fact that Robinson did indeed show outstanding skills as a fielder during his ten year career. Right after he played his rookie season at first base, Robinson then spent most of his career as a second baseman, in which he also excelled. In addition to being one of the leading baseman in 1950 and 1951, he also played about 2,000 innings at third base and about 1,175 innings in the outfield, towards the end of his career.
In 1949, he was selected as the NL’s Most Valuable player of the Year and also won the batting title with a .342 average that same year. As a result of his great success as an inspirational baseball player,, Jackie was eventually inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, further reaffirming his mark in the sport as an icon for many.
Among the many awards Jackie Robinson received, some important forms of recognition included his election as a top baseman in 1999, while also being named as one of the most influential African-Americans on Molefi Kete Asante’ list. Robinson was also named one of the most influential people of the 20th century in 1999.
Even around sixty years later, baseball players and fans are still in awe of the amount of struggle and hardship Jackie Robinson endured to eventually grow into a an admirable team player and human being.