Robinson’s legacy lives on

By Patrick McGowan
February 15, 2007


“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives,” Jackie Robinson had said once. As the first African-American Major League Baseball player, Robinson has had a huge impact on sports, especially baseball.

Robinson attended the University of California, Los Angeles where he showed his great potential.

While at UCLA, Robinson played a variety of sports such as baseball, football, basketball and track. Once out of college, however, Robinson enlisted in the Army before he had a chance to play professionally.

Robinson enlisted in the Army in 1942. While in the Army, he would be court-martialed for not moving to the back of the bus, much earlier than Rosa Parks made her stand by not moving. Robinson would be acquitted of charges.

In 1944, Robinson went to play for the Negro Baseball League since African-Americans were not accepted in the major leagues. In 1945, a man by the name of Branch Ricky wanted to change this.

After watching Robinson play for a little bit, Ricky had Robinson sign a contract with the minor league team, the Montreal Royals, and in 1947 Robinson would receive a uniform for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

“They knew he could take it and he wouldn’t flip out,” Delta Benoit, a sophomore English and communication major, said in regards to the reaction of fans at the time.

Since baseball had been segregated up until that point, the fans were not happy about an African-American playing in the major leagues.

Despite the initial welcome, fans would eventually come to accept Robinson, with even “The Sporting News,” who were at first were opposed to the integration, awarding Robinson his first Rookie of the Year.

Benoit points to Robinson’s never-quit attitude as one of the major reasons why people began to like him. As Robinson once said, “Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you are ahead.”

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Patrick McGowan

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