5 Jackie Robinson Facts For Kids
Jackie Robinson is a famous name because he was the first African-American to play professional baseball in the Major Leagues. He’s been inducted into the Hall of Fame and every team in Major League Baseball has retired his number. For one game every year, each player on the field is allowed to wear the #42 of Jackie Robinson to honor the struggles he faced and his accomplishments. Here are some fun facts about this man that you may not have heard.
1. Jackie Loved Sports
Baseball wasn’t the only love that Jackie Robinson had. He actually took 5 years off from playing baseball in order to play professional football and serve in the military during World War II. He played golf very well too and because the first student athlete in UCLA history to letter in 4 different sports. He was a safety and a running back for the football team and a long jumper on the track team. When he did come back to baseball, his natural gifts were immediately noticed and it took just one year for the Brooklyn Dodgers to sign him up.
2. The Dodgers Didn’t Want Him
The management of the Brooklyn Dodgers wanted Jackie Robinson to play for them, but many of the players didn’t like the idea of an African-American on their team. Some even signed an official petition to have him removed. Only one player ended up being traded away because of his racial prejudices, however, and Robinson eventually fit in well with the team. Many away games were difficult, however, because the racial abuse from the crowd was extraordinary.
3. Run Jackie Run!
Many people remember Jackie Robinson for his incredible speed. He played the game of baseball in a very fundamental way. He’d run hard, bunt often, and steal bases so that runs could be scored. In his first season with the Dodgers, he led the league in sacrifice hits. He was so good at bunting, in fact, that only 4 of his bunts during his rookie year didn’t result in a hit or a sacrifice.
4. Was He a Communist?
Jackie Robinson was called into the McCarthy hearings because another famous African-American, an actor named Paul Robeson, told the government that people from his racial demographic wouldn’t likely support a war against the Soviet Union because of the problems with segregation. Robinson made an eloquent speech, convinced the committee of his patriotism, but always regretted that he’d made time to even go testify.
5. Jackie Continued to Break Down Barriers
We remember Jackie Robinson as the first African-American baseball player, but he accomplished a number of additional firsts for his racial demographic. After baseball, he became the first African-American executive of a major American corporation. He also became the first African-American baseball announced when ABC hired him to call games in 1965.
Jackie Robinson was courageous in his battle for equality and his skills set him apart. He stole home 19 times over his career, an incredible number, and his inclusion in Cooperstown is well deserved.