Today, America celebrates the mark of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Not only was Jackie Robinson a hero amongst blacks and whites alike on the ball field, but also as a citizen of America as a whole.

When you think of courage, determination, persistence, integrity, commitment, citizenship, excellence, bravery and, of course, baseball - you have no choice but to think about the man that encompassed it all as he wore #42 - Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson.

The year was 1947, when Jackie Robinson first entered the baseball field for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He broke the baseball color line being the first black American to play first base in Major League Baseball. By allowing Robinson to play ball, the Brooklyn Dodgers also helped to put a dead end to racial segregation that had kept black players to the Negro leagues for more than 60 years.

Other pursuits that put Robinson on the map? He was the first black television analyst in Major League Baseball. And the first black vice president of a major American corporation with Freedom National Bank (which was a black-American-owned financial institution based in Harlem New York). And he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold medal, posthumously, in recognition for his achievements both on and off the field.

To gauge how popular the all-star was among Americans, according to a poll conducted in 1947, Robinson was the second-most popular man in the country, behind singer Bing Crosby. On June 4, 1972, the Dodgers retired his uniform number, 42. Robinson also portrayed himself in the 1950 motion picture The Jackie Robinson Story.

Here are some career highlights and achievements by one of baseballs greatest, Jackie Robinson:

  • 6 Time All-Star (1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953 & 1954)
  • Negro League All-Star Selection (1945)
  • World Series Champion (1955)
  • 1949 National League MVP
  • 1947 Major League Baseball - Rookie of the Year (1947)
  • Major League Baseball All-Century Team

I suppose much more could be shared about the great American baseball player, however time and space will not allow. But I can say this, "Here's to you, Jackie, on your day. We thank you, baseball fans thank you, and America thanks you."

Hats off to the man from Cairo, Georgia, pioneer and all-around great guy - #42 - Jackie Robinson.