Jackie Robinson is no doubt one of the most famous baseball players to ever play the game. While his .311 batting average, 1947 Rookie of the Year award, 1949 AL MVP award, and six world series appearances are impressive enough; it was his ability to overcome the difficulty of being one of the first black players within a segregated America that solidified his spot in history. Now, April 15th is known as “Jackie Robinson Day” within Major League Baseball, and on that day every player wears Robinson’s number, 42.
The tradition of wearing 42 once a year is warmly accepted by players around the league, many of whom took to twitter to express their gratitude for what Jackie did for baseball. Marcus Stroman, a pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, tweeted, “Jackie Robinson Day. Can’t express how thankful I am for this courageous human being. Thank you for paving the way!” Many other players followed Stroman’s example, but then there were tweets such as Chris Archer’s (a starting pitcher for for the Tampa Bay Rays) whose tweet went beyond baseball:
— Chris Archer (@ChrisArcher22) 15 aprile 2016
What many people don’t know about Mr. Robinson is that after his 10 years in the league, he became a political activist and was very involved in the civil rights movement. He even started the Freedom National Bank in Harlem in 1964 in an attempt to, as stated in a USA Today article, “protest against white financial institutions that discriminated against African Americans by denying them loans or setting interest rates artificially high.” Mr. Robinson, already a dedicated baseball player, took that same intensity and used it to fight for what he believed in.
Now, as people watch baseball on April 15th, they see every baseball player wearing the number 42. This unification of the players also serves as a reminder of the civil rights movement that was fought then, and is still being fought today. The legend of Jackie Robinson inspires people to not only be better baseball players, but better people as well.