The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #14
Jackie Robinson (1919 – 1972)
While many teams retired the jersey numbers of their great players, only one number has been retired throughout all of major league baseball. And that is 42, the number of Jackie Robinson. As the first black player in the major leagues, Robinson broke the color barrier that had lasted six decades and faced extraordinary verbal (and sometimes even physical) abuse which he bore with strength, honor, grace, dignity, pride, and forbearance. While his legacy affects the entire sport around the world, he spent his entire career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and it is rare to envision him without the blue cap and white B. He was the first black player to win Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame (voted in on the first ballot in the first year of eligibility). He was an All-Star six times from 1949-1954 and helped the Dodgers win the World Series in 1955. 25 years after Robinson’s death, the city renamed the Interborough Parkway in his honor. And shortly after what would have been his 90th birthday, Citi Field opened in Queens, featuring the Jackie Robinson rotunda, honoring his life and accomplishments.
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