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On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball when he manned first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers who were hosting the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field on Opening Day.

Today in Sports History presented by Starr Cards

Robinson recorded the game’s first putout, when he received the throw from fellow rookie Spider Jorgensen on Dick Culler’s ground ball to third base.


Robinson came to bat three times in his first game and failed to collect a hit, but reached second base in the seventh inning on a bunt attempt when his blazing speed forced an errant throw at first.

NY Times sports page after Jackie Robinson's MLB debut

With Robinson on second, Eddie Stanky on third, and Brooklyn trailing 3-2, Pete Reiser belted a double to score the pair, and later reached home himself to deliver a 5-3 win for the Dodgers.


Overcoming racist taunts and threatened walkouts by players, Robinson finished his first year batting .297, with a .427 slugging percentage. Batting second in the order, he collected 175 hits (scoring 125 runs) including five triples, 12 home runs, and 48 RBIs.

Jackie Robinson rookie card

At the conclusion of the season, No. 42’s numbers were good enough to win the vote for MLB’s Rookie of the Year award, as he outpaced fellow Big Apple standouts Larry Jansen of the Giants and Spec Shea of the Yankees.

Robinson’s rookie season would be the only one in which he played first base, as the following year he was moved to second — his natural position — and finished his 10-year career in the big leagues there.