Pop! Sport Legends - Baseball - MLB Los Angeles Dodgers - Jackie Robinson - #42

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Funko Pop #42 Jackie Robinson

Jack Roosevelt Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era.  Robinson broke the color line when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.  The Dodgers signing Robinson heralded the end of racial segregation in professional baseball that had relegated black players to the Negro leagues since the 1880s.  Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Born in Cairo, Georgia, Robinson was raised in Pasadena, California.  A four-sport student athlete at Pasadena Junior College and the University of California, Los Angeles, he was better known for football than he was for baseball, becoming a star college player with the UCLA Bruins football team.  Following his college career, Robinson was drafted for service during World War II but was court martialed for refusing to sit at the back of a segregated Army bus, eventually being honorably discharged.  Afterwards, he signed with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro leagues from where he caught the eye of Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who thought he would be the perfect candidate for breaking the color line in Major League Baseball.

During his 10-year MLB career, Robinson won the inaugural Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, was an All-Star for six consecutive seasons from 1949 through 1954, and won the National League (NL) Most Valuable Player Award in 1949—the first black player so honored.  Robinson played in six World Series and contributed to the Dodgers' 1955 World Series championship.  In 1997, Major League Baseball retired his uniform No. 42 across all major league teams; he was the first professional athlete in any sport to be so honored.  MLB also adopted a new annual tradition, "Jackie Robinson Day", for the first time on April 15, 2004, on which every player on every team wears No. 42.

Robinson's character, his use of nonviolence, and his talent challenged the traditional basis of segregation that had then marked many other aspects of American life.  He influenced the culture of and contributed significantly to the civil rights movement. Robinson also was the first black television analyst in MLB and the first black vice president of a major American corporation, Chock full o'Nuts.  In the 1960s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank, an African-American-owned financial institution based in Harlem, New York.  After his death in 1972, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his achievements on and off the field.