Photo credits: U.S. Major League Baseball
In 1947, the Rookie of the Year became an official award given by Major League Baseball (MLB) to the rookie who performed the best that season.
In the first two seasons of the award, only one award was given out for the entire league. It was not until 1949, the third year of the award, that the MLB started giving out one award for each league (the AL and NL). On September 19, 1947, Jackie Robinson was named the first winner of MLB’s Rookie of the Year Award.
We all know Jackie Robinson’s story. What a lot of people probably do not know is just how good Robinson was. Obviously, his talent was overshadowed by what he went through just to play baseball. What is more impressive than anything is how he persevered through all of America’s racial hatred and dehumanization.
But Jackson dealt with his adversities in valiant fashion. He was the measuring stick for how a truly elite athlete played on the diamond. In his rookie season, Robinson finished with a .297 batting average. He hit 12 home runs and led the league in stolen bases, earning 29 of them. He led his Los Angeles Dodgers to the World Series that year. However, the Dodgers lost to the Yankees in the MLB’s final championship series.
Robinson also earned a fifth-place finish in MVP voting that year.