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Jackie Robinson

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Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base on April 15, 1947. The Dodgers, by signing Robinson, heralded the end of racial segregation in professional baseball that had relegated black players to the Negro leagues since the 1880s. Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. Robinson had an exceptional 10-year baseball career. He was the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, was an All-Star for six consecutive seasons from 1949 through 1954, and won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949the first black player so honored. Robinson played in six World Series and contributed to the Dodgers' 1955 World Series championship. In 1997, MLB "universally" retired his uniform number, 42, across all major league teams; he was the first pro athlete in any sport to be so honored. MLB also adopted a new annual tradition, "Jackie Robinson Day", for the first time on April 15, 2004, on which every player on every team wears No. 42. (AP Photo/File)

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Former New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera, right, and Mrs Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie Robinson, left, take part in a New York University graduation ceremony Wednesday, May 21, 2014, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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Detroit Tigers' Torii Hunter, wearing shoes with Jackie Robinson's number 42, stands in the batters box during the third inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Detroit, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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Mrs. Rachael Robinson, widow of baseball great Jackie Robinson, reacts before the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees play Game 2 of an baseball doubleheader on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

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The number "42" in honor of Jackie Robinson is posted on the upper deck of Oriole Park at Camden Yards as Baltimore Orioles' Matt Wieters, wearing Robinson's number, approaches the batter's box for an at-bat in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Wednesday, April 16, 2014, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence wears Jackie Robinson's No. 42 as he is introduced before the Giants' baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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The Los Angeles Dodgers' line-up on the scoreboard shows all players wearing Jackie Robinson's No. 42, during the first inning of the Dodgers' baseball game against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)