Jackie Robinson

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Jackie Robinson : biography

31 January 1919 – 24 October 1972

Robinson did not long outlive his son. Complications of heart disease and diabetes weakened Robinson and made him almost blind by middle age. On October 24, 1972, he died of a heart attack at home in Stamford, Connecticut, aged 53. Robinson’s funeral service on October 27, 1972, at New York City’s Riverside Church attracted 2,500 mourners.Linge, p. 149. Many of his former teammates and other famous black baseball players served as pallbearers, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson gave the eulogy. Tens of thousands of people lined the subsequent procession route to Robinson’s interment site at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, where he is buried next to his son Jackie and mother-in-law Zellee Isum. Jackie Robinson Parkway also runs through the cemetery.

After Robinson’s death, his widow founded the Jackie Robinson Foundation, of which she remains an officer as of 2009. On April 15, 2008, she announced that in 2010 the foundation will be opening a museum devoted to Jackie in Lower Manhattan. Robinson’s daughter, Sharon, became a midwife, educator, director of educational programming for MLB, and the author of two books about her father.The books are Robinson, Sharon (2001) and Robinson, Sharon (2004). See His youngest son, David, who has six children, is a coffee grower and social activist in Tanzania.

Awards and recognition

According to a poll conducted in 1947, Robinson was the second most popular man in the country, behind Bing Crosby. In 1999, he was named by Time on its list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Also in 1999, he ranked number 44 on the Sporting News list of Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players (The Sporting News). Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 2010-09-23. and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team as the top vote-getter among second basemen. Baseball writer Bill James, in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, ranked Robinson as the 32nd greatest player of all time strictly on the basis of his performance on the field, noting that he was one of the top players in the league throughout his career. Robinson was among the 25 charter members of UCLA’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1984. In 2002, Molefi Kete Asante included Robinson on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans. Robinson has also been honored by the United States Postal Service on three separate postage stamps, in 1982, 1999, and 2000.

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The City of Pasadena has recognized Robinson in several ways. Brookside Park, situated next to the Rose Bowl, features a baseball diamond and stadium named Jackie Robinson Field. The city’s Human Services Department operates the Jackie Robinson Center, a community outreach center that provides health services. In 1997, a $325,000 bronze sculpture (equal to $ today) by artists Ralph Helmick, Stu Schecter, and John Outterbridge depicting oversized nine-foot busts of Robinson and his brother Mack was erected at Garfield Avenue, across from the main entrance of Pasadena City Hall; a granite footprint lists multiple donors to the commission project, which was organized by the Robinson Memorial Foundation and supported by members of the Robinson family.

Major League Baseball has honored Robinson many times since his death. In 1987, both the National and American League Rookie of the Year Awards were renamed the "Jackie Robinson Award" in honor of the first recipient (Robinson’s Major League Rookie of the Year Award in 1947 encompassed both leagues). On April 15, 1997, Robinson’s jersey number, 42, was retired throughout Major League Baseball, the first time any jersey number had been retired throughout one of the four major American sports leagues. Under the terms of the retirement, a grandfather clause allowed the handful of players who wore number 42 to continue doing so in tribute to Robinson, until such time as they subsequently changed teams or jersey numbers. This affected players such as the Mets’ Butch Huskey and Boston’s Mo Vaughn. The Yankees’ Mariano Rivera is the last player in Major League Baseball to wear jersey number 42 on a regular basis. On March 8, 2013, Rivera announced the he would retire at the end of the 2013 season. Since 1997, only Wayne Gretzky’s number 99, retired by the NHL in 2000, has been retired league-wide. There have also been calls for MLB to retire number 21 league-wide in honor of Roberto Clemente, a sentiment opposed by the Robinson family. The Hispanics Across America advocacy group wants Clemente’s number set aside the way the late Robinson’s No. 42 was in 1997, but Sharon Robinson maintained the position that such an honor should remain in place for Jackie Robinson only.