Jack Roosevelt Robinson was an American professional baseball player and the first Afro-American to play in Major League Baseball. Born on January 31st, 1919 in Georgia to Mallie and Jerry Robinson, he was the youngest of five children. His middle name was in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt, who died 25 days before he was born. Robinson and his minority friends were excluded from recreational opportunities, due to which he joined a gang, but his good friend Carl Anderson convinced him to abandon it. They moved to California in 1920 after the father left the family.
His older brother Mark and Frank inspired him to pursue sports. During his junior college, he continued to play basketball, football, baseball, and track. In the spring of 1939, he graduated from Pasadena Junior School and enrolled at University Of California, Los Angeles. He was one of the four black players at the University Of California, Los Angeles Bruins Football Team.
He was named in the Times magazine, on its list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. The University Of California, Los Angeles Bruins Baseball team plays at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Due to the efforts of Jackie’s brother Mark, the Jackie Robinson Stadium features Jackie’s sculptor. In 1976 his house in Brooklyn was declared a national historic mark and number of buildings have been named in his honor. In 1962, Robinson was the first African-American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
He was an outstanding fielder during his ten years in major leagues and at every position he played. On January 5th, 1957 he retired from baseball at the age of 37. Later that year he was diagnosed with diabetes after he complained of different physical ailments. He was almost blind by the middle age due to the complication of heart disease and diabetes. He died at the age of 53, due to a heart attack in his house. His wife established the Jackie Robinson Foundation dedicated to honoring his work and life. The foundation provides scholarships and mentoring programs to young people in need.
Robinson on his legacy said, “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me, all I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”