Robinson died after having a heart attack at home in Stamford, Connecticut. He was 53. Complications of heart disease and diabetes weakened Robinson and made him almost blind by middle age. 16 months earlier, Jackie Robinson Jr, at the age of 24, was killed in an automobile accident. The experience with his son’s drug addiction turned Robinson, Sr. into an avid anti-drug crusader toward the end of his life.
Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson was a baseball player who became the 1st African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base on April 15, 1947. As the first major league team to play a black man since the 1880s, the Dodgers ended racial segregation that had relegated black players to the Negro leagues for six decades. The example of Robinson’s character and unquestionable talent challenged the traditional basis of segregation, which then marked many other aspects of American life, and contributed significantly to the Civil Rights Movement.
In addition to his cultural impact, Robinson had an exceptional baseball career. Over ten seasons, Robinson played in six World Series and contributed to the Dodgers’ 1955 World Championship. He was selected for six consecutive All-Star Games, from 1949 to 1954, was the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, and won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949—the first black player so honored.
Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
In 1997, MLB universally retired his uniform number, 42, across all major league teams; he was the 1st pro athlete in any sport to be so honored.
Read more about Mr. Robinson at: Daily Black History Facts