What Is Jackie Robinson Famous For?

Jackie Robinson is most famous for becoming the first African-American to appear in a Major League Baseball game during the modern era. On April 15, 1947, Robinson started a game at first base and became the first player to break the color line, as no black man had appeared in an MLB game since the 1880s. The Brooklyn Dodgers were the first team to end six decades of racial segregation that had left black players with no other choice but the Negro Leagues.

When Robinson made his first major league appearance with the Dodgers, the crowd featured 26,623 spectators, more than half of whom were black. As the Dodgers began to go on the road that season, black fans turned out in droves. Overall, the media and the rest of the players in the league had a positive response to Robinson, although tension arose sometimes. In the clubhouse, there were some Dodgers who said they did not want to play next to a black player, but manager Leo Durocher and the executive management of the team were firmly behind Robinson.

Some situations erupted in which other teams ridiculed Robinson. The entire St. Louis Cardinals team threatened to go on strike if Robinson appeared against them, but the commissioner of baseball indicated that any players who undertook that sort of protest would be suspended indefinitely. From a modern perspective, Robinson is a hero for enduring that sort of treatment and still excelling at the game, blazing a path for others to follow.