This Day in Sports History: Jackie Robinson Becomes MLB’s First African-American Player


Every year on April 15, MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson, commemorating the day he first suited up for the Brooklyn Dodgers and became the first African-American player in Major League Baseball.

Robinson was 28 when he broke the sport’s longtime color barrier.

As Sports Illustrated’s William Nack wrote for the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s debut campaign:

In the midst of all this bristling animus, there was a circus-like quality to Dodgers games, with Robinson on display like a freak; with large crowds, including many blacks, lustily cheering even his dinkiest pop-ups; and with the daily papers singling him out as the ‘black meteor,’ the ‘sepia speedster,’the ‘stellar Negro,’ the ‘muscular Negro,’ the ‘lithe Negro’ and “dusky Robbie.”

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