Jackie Robinson during his collegiate years in Los Angeles
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."
"When Jackie Robinson took the field in Brooklyn 65 years ago, he transcended the sport he loved and helped change our country in the most powerful way imaginable.It is a privilege for Major League Baseball to celebrate Jackie's enduring legacy each year, and we are proud that every April 15th, our young fans around the world have an opportunity to learn everything that the No. 42 stands for -- courage, grace and determination."
-Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig
Today marks the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jackie Robinson was the first African-American baseball player to compete in the major leagues when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Today in honor of Robinson, every player in Major League Baseball will wear Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.
Rachel Robinson, Jackie's wife, had vivid memories of April 15, 1947:
"As Jackie Robinson was getting ready to break baseball's color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Rachel was hustling to get to Ebbets Field in time to see it."
"She waited a long time for a taxi because drivers routinely passed up black passengers. She worried their baby, Jackie Jr., would be cold because she had dressed him in spring clothes. And she stopped at a hot dog stand in the ballpark, where a vendor was kind enough to heat the boy's bottle."
Rachel Robinson at the stadium. (From Spike Lee's documentary on Baseball and Jackie Robinson)
"It was an exciting, exhilarating time — but it also was a stressful time," Rachel Robinson said.
Rachel and Jackie met while they both were students at UCLA. Rachel Robinson earned a degree in nursing from the UCSF School of Nursing in 1945 before marrying Jackie in 1946.
A few years after Jackie Robinson's retirement from baseball, Rachel returned to school and earned a masters degree from New York University. In 1965 Rachel became an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Yale University.
-Jackie Robinson during his collegiate years at UCLA played football, ran track, was the leading scorer on the basketball team and played baseball.
More on Jackie Robinson and Rachel Robinson at:
Los Angeles Dodgers Site on Jackie Robinson
New York Times on Jackie Robinson
Rachel Robinson at UCSF