The sport of baseball has been a favorite American sport long before it earned its place on sports networks. Jack Roosevelt Robinson are among the pioneers of the sport who first began as a first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. He was twenty-eight years old at the time. When the Dodgers signed Robinson, it was heralded the end of racial segregation that had black players regulated to the Negro Leagues since the 1880s. During his ten years of Major League Baseball, Jackie Robinson won the inaugural Rookie of the Year Award in 1947 and was an All-Star for six consecutive seasons from 1949 until 1954. He was also the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1949, becoming the first black player in Major League Baseball history to do so. There are six World Series wins to Jackie Robinson’s credit and is best recognized for his contribution to the Brooklyn Dodgers 1955 win against the New York Yankees. It stands to reason among baseball fans who know their history and love the greatest players that ever graced the sport with their talent that they’d be just as much a fan of baseball cards featuring them as the players themselves. With the name of Jackie Robinson, plus his legacy, it stands to reason there will be some rather expensive baseball cards in his name.
More About Jackie Robinson
Before becoming a big name in Major League Baseball, Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia. He was the youngest of five children to a family of sharecroppers, moving with his family in 1920 to Pasadena, California after his father left them. In order to raise her family, Robinson’s mother worked different odd jobs. It wasn’t easy as there were still high racial tensions at the time as segregation was still in place. Because of this, young Robinson became briefly involved with a neighborhood gang before graduating from junior high school in 1935. Recognized for his athletic talent, Robinson’s older brothers inspired Jackie to pursue sports. Mack Robinson is the older brother of Jackie who won a silver medal for the U.S. Team at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Jackie Robinson excelled in many sports and was competing at a varsity level. He lettered in baseball, basketball, football, and track. On the varsity baseball team, he played catcher and shortstop. In football, he was a quarterback while in basketball he was a guard. In track and field, he won awards in the broad jump. In addition to these athletic accomplishments, he also became a member of the tennis team. In 1936, Robinson won the junior boys singles championship with the Pacific Coast Negro Tennis Tournament that was held annually. For two years, Robinson was recognized as the outstanding athlete at school, starring in the series of sports he excelled at.
From there, he proceeded to Pasadena Junior College where he continued to pursue his athletic ambitions. When the brother he was closest was killed in a motorcycle accident, this motivated Jackie Robinson to pursue an athletic career at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In his way, he could stay close to his brother. Along the way, his athletic prowess continued where he broke records and won over scout talents. Interestingly enough, even as a university student, baseball was not Robinson’s best sport at the time. At the time, it seemed a promising football career was destined for Jackie Robinson but as fate would have it, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor changed everything. Jackie Robinson was drafted in 1942 to a segregated U.S. Army cavalry in Fort Riley, Kansas. He, along with several other black soldiers, applied for admission to an Officer Candidate School (OCS), but few were admitted until after subsequent directives by the army’s leadership. This resulted in Robinson’s application, as well as his fellow colleagues, delayed for several months. When protests led by heavyweight boxing champion, Joe Louis, gained ground, the men were finally accepted into OCS. Because Joe Louis and Jackie Robinson were at Fort Riley at the same time for the same reason, the two developed a friendship. Also during this time frame, when Robinson became commissioned, he was reassigned to Fort Hood, Texas and joined the batallion known as the Black Panthers. While there and on weekend leave, he visited his pastor, whom he knew since California and was now living near Austin, Texas.
On July 6, 1944, Robinson’s time in the military came to an end when he boarded an unsegregated military bus where the driver ordered Robinson to move to the back. Instead of complying, Robinson refused and the driver backed down until reaching the destination and summoned the military police to take Robinson into custody. After realizing the racist actions hurled against him by the investigating duty officer and his assistant, Robinson found himself facing court martial. By the time the entire drama was over and he was acquitted before getting transferred to Kentucky. While there, he coached for army athletics until he received his honorable discharge in November 1944. This is where Jackie Robinson got back into sports, this time baseball, after he was encouraged by a former player to tryout for the Kansas City Monarchs. This is where the path of Jackie Robinson’s stellar baseball career officially began as he continued to overcome obstacles that were placed before him by circumstances he refused to use as an excuse not to move forward and succeed.
Jackie Robinson Legacy
In 1962, Georgia-born-and-raised Jackie Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Later, in 1997, his jersey number, forty-two, was retired across all major league teams and has become the first professional athlete in any sport to earn such high honors. Major League Baseball also adopted an annual tradition for the first time on April 15, 2004 called “Jackie Robinson Day.” On that day, each player on every team wears his infamous jersey number. In addition to becoming one of the most iconic baseball players the league has ever known, he was also had the best temperament. His refusal to use violence during a time when there was still segregations and racisms in place, marked the man’s character that has extended far beyond professional courtesy. Jackie Robinson served as one of the leading influencers that contributed a significant voice to the civil rights movement. He also became the first black television analyst in Major League Baseball and the first black vice president of a major American corporation called Chock full o’Nuts. During the 1960s, he also helped establish the Freedom National Bank, which is an African-American-owned financial institution based in Harlem, New York. When he died in 1972, there was a posthumous award, the Congressional Gold Metal and Presidential Medal of Freedom that recognized Jackie Robinson for his achievements on and off the field.
5. 1949 Bowman Jackie Robinson #50 PSA Mint 9 ($360,000.00 USD)
This 1949 Jackie Bowman baseball card sold for $360,000.00 USD through Heritage Auctions on November 18, 2021. There were twenty-six bidders that vied for the card until the successful bidder is declared.
4. 1948 Leaf Jackie Robinson Rookie #79 PSA NM-MT 8 ($372,000.00 USD)
This Jackie Robinson baseball card was sold on August 21, 2021, via Heritage Auctions for $372,000.00 USD.
3. 1952 Topps #312 Jackie Robinson High Number PSA NM-MT 8 ($384,000.00 USD)
On April 18, 2021, this 1952 Jackie Robinson card sold for $384,000.00 USD via Robert Edward Auctions. There were seventy-six bids over the card that ran for sixteen days before a the winning bidder was declared.
2. 1948-49 Leaf Jackie Robinson Rookie #79 PSA NM-MT 8 ($444,000.00 USD)
Through Heritage Auctions, this 1948-49 Jackie Robinson rookie card sold for $444,000.00 USD on November 18, 2021. The successful bidder beat out twenty-five other bids in order to take home the prize.
1. 1952 Topps Jackie Robinson #312 PSA Mint 9 ($960,000.00 USD)
Via Heritage Auctions, $960,000.00 USD was the successful bid that was made on May 6, 2021 for this 1952 Jackie Robinson PSA-graded 9 baseball card. There were thirty-eight bidders involved in the competition to take the prize home but in the end, there can only be one winner.