Every year on April 15, Major League Baseball comes together to commemorate the life of Jackie Robinson.
Every player will wear Robinson’s number, 42, as they celebrate the man who made history as the first Black player in league history.
Robinson made his debut on April 15, 1947, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He went on to play 10 seasons, making six All-Star teams and winning a World Series with the Dodgers in 1955. He was also a National League batting champion and Most Valuable Player. All while enduring racist bigotry and death threats.
His iconic number has been retired by every Major League team.
Robinson, second from left, poses with his siblings and his mother, Mallie, for a family portrait circa 1925. Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia, but raised in Pasadena, California. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Robinson was a formidable athlete in college, lettering in four sports at UCLA. He led the nation in rushing as a football player. After college, Robinson was drafted by the US Army and spent a couple of years in the military.Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
Shortly after he was discharged by the military in 1944, Robinson was signed by the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues.Sporting News/Getty Images
Robinson signs a contract with the Montreal Royals, a minor-league team and farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers, in 1945.Archive Photos/Getty Images
Robinson married Rachel Isum in Los Angeles in 1946. Throughout his life, she was his partner and sounding board, a steady companion when he was the subject of criticism and worse.Archive Photos/Getty Images
Robinson crosses home plate after hitting a three-run home run for the Montreal Royals in 1946. BettmannGetty Images
Young Dodger fans reach down to try to get Robinson’s autograph during an exhibition game in New York on April 11, 1947. Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
Robinson poses in the dugout with Dodgers teammates as he makes his historic debut on April 15, 1947. With Robinson, from left, are Johnny “Spider” Jorgensen, Harold “Pee Wee” Reese and Eddie Stanky. Photo File/Getty Images
Dodgers executive Branch Rickey was integral in bringing Robinson to the majors. Rickey had been scouting players who could break the color barrier, and he was looking for someone who would be able to endure the racial hatred and not lash out in anger. “Are you looking for a Negro who is afraid to fight back?” Robinson reportedly said. Rickey responded that he was looking for someone who had “the guts not to fight back.” Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images
Robinson and Dodgers teammate “Pee Wee” Reese cook soup with their children in 1950. Reese was a big Robinson supporter, especially during that difficult first season. When some teammates wanted to boycott Robinson’s addition to the team, Reese refused to sign the petition. And as the story goes, Reese once put his arm around Robinson’s shoulders in the middle of a road game, embracing Robinson as he was being heckled.Rogers Photo Archive/Getty Images
Robinson leaps into the air to try to turn a double play in 1952.Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
Robinson steals home during Game 1 of the 1955 World Series. The Dodgers lost the game but went on to defeat the New York Yankees in seven games.Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
Robinson shakes hands with President Richard Nixon at a GOP rally in 1960. Robinson attended the 1964 Republican Convention, but he later supported Democrats as the political parties’ makeup changed.Paul Schutzer/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
From left, Edd Roush, Robinson, Bob Feller and Bill McKechnie stand with their plaques after being inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1962.Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
Robinson appears on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1962. After retiring, Robinson became an executive for the Chock Full o’Nuts coffee company. He also spoke out on civil rights.CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images
Robinson and his wife, Rachel, pose with their three children — Jackie Jr., David and Sharon — at their home in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1962.AP
Robinson works in the broadcast booth during the 1960s.Robert Riger/Getty Images
Robinson attends a meeting for Freedom Marchers in Williamston, North Carolina, in 1964. He was there to lend his name to the integration efforts in the city. Bettmann/Getty Images
Robinson signs autographs before the start of an Old Timers Game in Anaheim, California, in 1969. Three years later, he died of a heart attack at the age of 53.Bettmann/Getty Images