Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

Jackie Robinson Day: You Should Know Jackie Robinson….

Because sports as we know it didn’t always look like this. Imagine turning on your television and seeing no Steph Curry, or Cam Newton, or Miguel Cabrera. As incredible as that is to imagine, professional sports in America some time ago did not reflect the diverse makeup of its citizens. But on April 15, 1947 all of that changed when Jackie Robinson trotted out to first base, becoming the first person of color to be allowed to play in a professional sport.

You should know Jackie Robinson…..

Because he has Jacksonville and North East Florida ties. Robinson epitomized strength in an era where African Americans were treated unfairly with racial prejudice. The prejudice even extended south when Robinson was assigned to the minor leagues. In 1946 he arrived in Daytona Beach Florida as a member of the Montreal Royals AAA minor league affiliate for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Immediately he was met with resistance as the manager of the Royals asked for Robinson to be assigned to another Dodger affiliate team. But Dodger management refused and Robinson remained in North East Florida. Robinson was not allowed to stay with his team at the team hotel, instead he stayed with a local black politician in Daytona. Originally staying in Sanford Florida where spring practice was held, Robinson and his wife were threatened by local whites forcing him to relocate to Daytona. All this even before he stepped on a spring training field. It didn’t fair any better when his team got ready to play either. When they arrived in Jacksonville to play a scheduled spring game, the stadium was padlocked by the city’s parks and public property director. Other cities followed like Deland and Daytona, but Daytona eventually agreed to allow the team to play. So on March 17th 1946, Robinson became the first black player to play in the minor leagues in Daytona Beach Florida. But it quite easily could’ve been Jacksonville.

You should know Jackie Robinson…

Because he is a Hall of Famer. Robinson still had to play baseball inspite of everything he endured. With the weight of an entire country on his shoulders Robinson still had to work hard in practice, improve his game, and prove to everyone that he belonged on the team. This message transcends race or gender, or even class. No matter the color of your skin, or the make up of your gender, or the side of town you reside, you still have to work hard and prove that you belong on the team. Robinson certainly did that and much more, being inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

You should know Jackie Robinson, because his story makes us know more about ourselves.


#jackierobinsonday  #42  #together