Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in NJ — April 18, 1946
While Jackie Robinson is (deservedly) remembered as the first African-American baseball player to play in the major leagues, his professional debut took place in a minor league game in Jersey City on April 18th, 1946.
Robinson had participated in spring training games for the Dodgers but his breaking of baseball’s “color line” is considered to be that game when his Montreal Royals played the Jersey City Giants, according to the book, On This Day In New Jersey History. It is believed that several Giants’ players wanted their pitcher to throw at Robinson in his first at bat, but he refused to bean him.
Robinson ended his first pro game with four hits (including a home run), four runs scored, drove in three, and stole two bases. He led the International League in batting that year and won their Most Valuable Player Award. He was called up the next year to start the season with the Dodgers, making his major league debut, the first black player in the major leagues.
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