Long Island's Jackie Robinson Freeway
RoadSpoke’s EXIT of the Day: EXIT 8 on I-678n aka the Van Wyck Expressway, the EXIT for the Jackie Robinson Expressway near Kew Gardens in Queens, New York
Today in 1991, BET Networks, was the first African-American company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Robert Johnson was the media company’s CEO and Founder. So in honor of that first as well as the End of the World Series...... we will revisit another first. And they are related since Number 42 went on to become the first African American TV sportscaster....
Like most New York Super Stars, baseball great Jackie Robinson came from somewhere else only to make it BIG in the Big Apple.
Jackie Robinson was the first African American who blasted through the Major League Baseball color barrier when The Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base on April 15, 1947. The Brooklyn Dodgers effectively ended racial segregation which had relegated black players to the Negro Leagues since the 1880s.
In his first year, Jackie faced a lot of abuse. But he persevered quietly. And successfully. In an ultimate act of revenge, Jackie was the recipient of the First Ever "Rookie of the Year" Award.
Robinson was born into abject poverty, as a sharecroppers son in rural Georgia. He went on to become an All-Star for six consecutive seasons from 1949 through 1954, and won the National League's Most Valuable Player Award in 1949—the first black player so honored.
Robinson played in 6 World Series including the Dodgers' 1955 World Series championship. In 1962, Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
After his pro career, he celebrated many other firsts. He was the first African American Sportscaster. He was the first African American to sit on the Board of Directors of a Fortune 500 Company, The Chock Full O'nuts Coffee Company.
After his death in 1972, Robinson was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal as well as The Presidential Medal of Freedom. Then in 1997, Major League Baseball "universally" retired his uniform number, Number 42. But for one exception, all major league teams will never award an athlete with Jersey #42; he was the first pro in any sport to be so honored.
But there is one exception... On April 15, 2004, Major League Baseball also adopted a new tradition, "Jackie Robinson Day". That day, EVERY player on EVERY team wears Number 42.
But in some sense -- every day is Jackie's Day... no more so than today when a Black Entertainment Network was born — and people of color play on every professional sports team including the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals.
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