The first African American baseball player in the major leagues, he helped the Brooklyn Dodgers win the World Series in 1955 and won the National League MVP award in 1949. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
He joined a gang to combat the exclusion of blacks in Cairo, Georgia, but his friend Carl Anderson convinced him to put his energy elsewhere. He was drafted into a cavalry unit in Fort Riley, Kansas, where the race-neutral Officer Candidate School accepted his application.
In 1997, his #42 jersey was retired by all major league teams. His legacy was further honored with the introduction of Jackie Robinson Day, where every player across the league wears #42.
He was married to Rachel Robinson from 1946 until his death. He had three children: Sharon, David and Jackie Jr.