Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) is legendary for his pioneering role as the first black professional baseball player in the major leagues. He was born in Cairo, Georgia, on January 31, 1919 and raised in Pasadena, California. Robinson’s success was foretold at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he became the first student to earn letters in four sports: baseball, basketball, football and track. He then played football for the Los Angeles Bulldogs, before serving in the army during World War II. After the war, Robinson played baseball in the Negro Leagues for the Kansas City Monarchs. His talent was soon recognized by Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who signed Robinson on August 28, 1945 to join the Montreal Royals in the International League. The Royals were the Dodgers’ top farm team.
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