Throughout his professional career, Jackie Robinson, received criticism for being the first “black” player to play the game. Not only did Jackie Robinson manage to live up to the criticism, he also changed the face of America’s greatest past time forever. With his entrance into the MLB he opened the path for great black players like Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, and Ozzie Smith just to name a few. In crossing the color-barrier in baseball Robinson not only strived as a great player on the field, but also a inspiration to the black community of the field with his humility, and willingness to move forward in a time where blacks were not considered “equal”.
Jackie Robinson was one of the most profound individuals to ever walk on this earth. Robinson established a reputation as a man who never tolerated insults to his dignity (Kahn 6). One of his accomplishments was entering the major leagues and is one of the most remarkable and inspiring accomplishments in sports history. When Robinson became the first black to play in Major League Baseball, he changed Americans’ views on racism forever.
Robinson was born the youngest of five children near Cairo, Georgia, on January 31, 1919. Robinson’s father, a sharecropper, left the family when Robinson was only about 2 years old. His mother, named Mallie McGriff Robinson, moved to Pasadena, California, to find work. (James 5) Trouble found Robinson at an early age, when he became a member of the Pasadena gang (7). At that school, he played several sports. He even lettered in: track, baseball, football, and basketball. His largest inspiration was most likely his older brother Matthew. He was a shortstop and catcher on the baseball team, a quarterback on the football team, a guard on the basketball team, and a member of the tennis team and the track and field squad. He used sports to become popular not drugs or gangs (8). In the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, Mack won the silver metal in the 200m-hurdle (13). Learning to deal with criticism early was a major contribution to his success in life. He and his friends would be called racial names while just trying to play baseball at the local park (Kahn 10).
Not long after the family moved to Pasadena, California Robinson’s mother enrolled him into Pasadena Junior College. At Pasadena Junior College Robinson set a National Junior College record in the long jump of 25’ 6 ½” (Ringer 22). After only one year at Pasadena Junior College Robinson received an athletic scholarship to the University of California, Los Angeles (23). There, Robinson became the first Bruin athlete to earn varsity letters in four sports (25). Robinson was a standout in football, baseball, basketball and track (26). After three years of college Robinson left college to work to support his mother (29). He was one of four African American players on the 1939 UCLA Bruins football team. This was not normal to have so many African Americans when only a few dozen at all played on...