Jackie Signed Dodger Contract April 10, 1947

The Montreal Royals' Jackie Robinson had his contract purchased by the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 10, 1947. The transaction paved the way for Robinson's historic integration of Major League baseball five days later.

He started his career with Montreal on Thursday April 18th 1946 in a game against the Jersey City Giants. Robinson, who would become the first black player in the Major Leagues less than a year later, went 4-for-5 with a home run, four runs scored and two stolen bases. He would lead the International League with a .349 average.

Robinson, the youngest of five children, was born in Cairo Georgia on January 31 1919 to sharecroppers. Hollywood hype aside, this was really the cast of "A Star is Born." He proved that in 1939 by attending UCLA and lettering in four sports, Baseball, Football, Basketball, and Track.

Robinson's Major League debut ended some sixty years of baseball segregation, unofficially known as the baseball color line. Jackie only played ten (10) years in the majors due to his career starting so late in life, but he more then made up for that by making the most of the time he had.

Jackie had many the career highlights starting with being named National League Rookie of the year in 1947, National League MVP and batting champion in 1949, six (6) All Star appearances ranging from 1949 - 1954, and finally World Series Champion in 1955.

Jackie wore number 42 on his jersey, and the Dodgers retired his number June 4th, 1972. Then in 1997 in honor of the 50th anniversary of his first major league game, the number was retired throughout major leagues baseball.

Robinson officially retired from baseball on January 5, 1957. He was then inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot with 77.5 % votes in 1962. He was the first man of color, African or other wise to be so honored.

On October 24, 1972, he died of a heart attack at age 53 in Stamford Connecticut. Jackie Robinson is interred at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn New York. Heart disease complications and Diabetes weakened him and made him almost blind by middle age.

He was survived by his lovely wife Rachel Annetta Isum Robinson who has gone on in her husbands name to found the Jackie Robinson Foundation, a son David and a daughter Sharon. A son, Jackie Robinson, Jr., was killed in a tragic auto accident.

In the 2008 MLB draft the Dodgers and the Robinson family have come full circle.

In the 33rd round of the First-Year Player Draft the name of Melvin Ray, 6-4, 200-pounder from North Florida Christian High School, was called by Los Angeles.

Most Dodger fans believed the club had just drafted a 19-year-old outfielder who wanted to go to college and because of that most teams to passed on him.

What most didn't know is that he is a relative of Jackie's, and that he was indeed signable. The Dodgers quickly offered him a contract and he has now started his pro career in the Dodgers minor league system, hoping as we all do that he follows in the footsteps of his most famous family member and a great American, Jackie Robinson.

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