He played shortstop for the Royals but during spring training Branch Ricky decided that with Eddie Stanky at second and Pee Wee Reese at shortstop, Robinson would have to move to first base and he had Hall of Famer George Sisler show him the ropes around the bag.
The season opened against the Boston Braves. Durocher had been suspended for a year just days before and Rickey hired old friend Bert Shotton to manage the team and he swore when he retired he would never wear a uniform again and he didn't, managing from the dugout, wearing a Dodgers jacket over his civilian clothes.
Newspapers in New York and Brooklyn didn't know how to handle Robinson's debut so they pretty much downplayed the whole thing.
After the Borough president John Cashman threw out the first ball and the 14th regiment band played, Everett McCooey sang the National Anthem while the Brooklyn fans waived signs that read, "Open the door Chandler [the baseball commissioner] and let our Leo go."
Robinson, playing first base,bounced out to third base and hit and easy fly to left field in his first two trips to the plate. A sparkling play by the Braves shortstop turned ball up the middle into a double play on his third time at bat.
Then, as he would do for the next 10 seasons, Robinson made something happen
Trailing 3-2 in he seventh, he dumped a perfect bunt down the third base line with Stanky on first base. The throw glanced off Robinson's arm and rolled into right field with Stanky going to third and Robinson moving to second on what was ruled a sacrifice and an error.
Pete Reiser then slammed a double off the right field screen just inside the foul pole, scoring Stanky with the tying run and Robinson with the winning run.
Red Barber, broadcasting the game, said that he had played first base "as if he had never played any other position."
After the game, Robinson told reporters "I was determined not to give too much thought to it being my first game. I just didn't want too much pressure. It was just another ball game and that is the way they are all going to be. I was comfortable in the field.
"The Brooklyn players have been swell and they were encouraging all the way. The crowd was certainly on my side but I don't know how it will be in other parks."
Asked about the Braves pitcher, Johnny Said, he said, "He really works on you. He has good control and I've never seen anyone throw a curve ad an fast ball with the same motion. If everyone in the National League is that good, it's going to be a tough year."
One of his teammates said, "Having Robinson on the team is still a little strange, like anything that's new. We just don't know how to act around him but he'll be accepted in time. Other sports have Negros, why not baseball? I'm for him if he can help win games. That's the only test I ask."
Robinson concluded his first interview by saying, "Just say that I know that this year is the test and tat I also know that I've got to hit. I'm going to hit, all right, and I'm not going to worry about it at any time."
The historic box score:
Boston ab r h bi Brooklyn ab r h bi Culler ss 3 0 0 0 Stanky 2b 3 1 0 0 Sisti ss 0 0 0 0 Robinson 1b 3 1 0 0 Hopp cf 2 0 1 1 Schultz 1b 0 0 0 0 McCormick rf 4 0 3 0 Reiser c 2 3 2 2 Elliott 3b 2 0 1 0 Walker rf 3 0 1 0 Litwhiler lf 3 1 0 0 Furillo rf 0 0 0 0 Rowell lf 1 0 0 0 Hermanski lf 4 0 1 1 Torgeson 1b 4 1 0 0 Edwards c 2 0 0 0 Masi c 3 0 0 0 Rackley ph 0 0 0 0 Ryan 2b 4 1 3 2 Bragan c 1 0 0 0 Sain p 1 0 0 0 Jorgensen 3b 3 0 1 0 Cooper p 0 0 0 0 Reese ss 3 0 1 0 Neill ph 0 0 0 0 Hatten p 2 0 1 0 Lanfranconi p 0 0 0 0 Gregg p 1 0 0 0 Holmes ph 1 0 0 0 Totals 29 5 6 5 Casey p 1 0 0 0 Stevens p 0 0 0 0 Vaughan ph 1 0 0 0 Totals 31 3 8 3 Score by innings Boston 000 012 000-3 Brooklyn 000 101 30x-5 Error- Edwards, Torgeson. 2b- Reese, Reiser. DP- Stanky, Reese and Robinson; Culler, Ryan and Torgeson. BB- Hatten 3, Sain 5, Gregg 2. SO- Hatten 2, Sain 1, Gregg 2, Lanfranconi 2, Casey 1. Hits- Sain 6 in 6, Cooper 0 in 1, Lanfranconi 0 in 1, Hatten 6 in 6, Gregg 2 in 3. HBP- by Hatten 2 by Greg, by Sain. Wild Pitch- Hatten. Winner- Gregg. Loser- Sain. Attendance- 25,623."JACKIE 1947" is Available Now
The complete story of Jackie Robinson first season in the National League, game by game, with complete box scores of each game, photos and statistics, is available by writing to Holmes Publishing, P/O/ Box 11, Gothenburg, NE 69138. The 128 page book is $10.00 plus $3.00 P&H. Your money back if not satisfied.
On Other April 15ths: April 15, 1909- Kaiser Wilhelm and Leon Ames of the Giants had a double no-hitter going into the eighth inning when Wilhelm allowed the first of three hits he allowed. Whitey Alperman got the first Brooklyn hit, a double, in the 10th inning and the Superbas, as they were called then, scored three runs in the 13th to win 3-0.
April 15, 1915 - Rube Marquard celebrated his return to the Giants after having jumped to the Federal League by no-hitting Brooklyn 3-0.
April 15, 1958 - Don Drysdale was knocked out of the game by the Giants in Seals Stadium in the fourth inning in the first Major League game ever played in California. San Francisco went on to an 8-0 win before a capacity crowd of 23,448.
April 15, 1972 - The season finally got under way after a strike held things up for 15 days and the Dodgers beat Cincinnati 3-1 behind Don Sutton.