Jack Roosevelt Robinson
Jack Roosevelt Robinson (1919-1972), better known as "Jackie," was born into a sharecropper family in Cairo, Ga. in 1919. A talented athlete, he attended the University of California at Los Angeles and lettered in baseball, basketball, track and football He made all-American team in 1941 before leaving college and joining the U.S. Army. In 1945, having left the service, he began playing professional baseball with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Baseball League and was spotted by Brooklyn Dodgers President Branch Rickey. Rickey hired him into the Dodgers organization and in 1947 Robinson became the first African American player in the major leagues and the National League's Rookie of the Year. He retired from baseball in 1956 with a lifetime batting average of .311 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1962.