In 1997, MLB retired Jackie Roosevelt Robinson’s uniform number 42 across all major league teams….which made him the first professional athlete in any sport to be so honored….plus, MLB also adopted a new annual tradition of “Jackie Robinson Day”….when for the first time on April 15, 2004 that every player on every team wears No. 42…..which is still recognized as an MLB tradition.
Robinson’s character….his use of non-violence….and his unquestionable 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….wherein he was also the first black television analyst in MLB….and the first black vice president of a major American corporation, Chock full o’Nuts. In the 1960’s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank….which was an African-American-owned financial institution based in Harlem, New York. After his death in 1972, Robinson was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his achievements on and off the field.