His debut with the Dodgers in 1947 was greeted with a lot of attention—not all of it positive. Although Robinson quickly proved he belonged as a player, the color of his skin was an issue for opposing teams and fans. Hearing racist taunts from fans and players prior to a game, Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese is said to have put his arm around Robinson on the field to indicate that he was accepted by those wearing a Brooklyn uniform. Still, Robinson endured racist obscenities, hate mail and death threats for much of his career.
It was his play in the field that ultimately silenced his critics. In 1947, his first year with the Dodgers, he earned the inaugural “Rookie of the Year” award. Despite having been signed by the Dodgers at the relatively old age of 28, Robinson would go on to hit .311 over a 10-year career. He became the first Black player to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949, when he led the league in hitting with a .342 average, most stolen bases (37) and achieving career-high 124 RBI. Robinson was an All Star every year from 1949-1954. He led Brooklyn to a World Series championship over the rival New York Yankees in 1956. Continue reading from History