How Jackie Robinson Shattered Baseball’s Color Barrier

By Samuel Phineas Upham

Jackie Robinson has become a lot more than a baseball player. He became a symbol for something that was a product of post-World War II America, which was slowly accepting a lifestyle of desegregation and increased equality for African Americans. Harry Truman desegregated the military at that time, and when Robinson started for the Brooklyn Dodgers he became a symbol for these monumental changes.

One has to begin a discussion of Jackie Robinson with the understanding that baseball was an American darling during this period of time. Games were exciting, easy to get on any radio broadcast, tickets were affordable because the sport was young. Many records broken today were set in those days.

Robinson was the Dodger’s first baseman as of April 15, 1947. The Dodgers officially ended racial segregation when they recognized that Robinson was a great athlete and gave him field time accordingly. From that moment forward, Robinson had an incredible 10-year career in the MLB.

Robinson was the first black player to receive the MVP, and the first black athlete in pro sports to receive honors of any kind. AS of 2004, MLB considers April 14th Jackie Robinson Day, where every player playing on that day wears the uniform “42”, which was Robinson’s number. The number is otherwise “retired”, a move the MLB made in 1997.

Robinson went on to set more records throughout his life. He became the first African American sports analyst who appeared on television to offer his opinions on the game. Though he died October 24th, 1972, he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Facebook.