Happy birthday, Jackie

by Bill Chuck on January 31, 2013

In honor of the anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s birthday, here are 42 facts about Jackie Robinson and the number 42.

Jackie Robinson 

Born: January 31, 1919
Died: October 24, 1972

  1. Branch Rickey, who signed Jackie, joined the Dodgers in 1942.
  2. In 1946, Jackie played for the Triple A Montréal Royals, leading the league in hitting and winning the International League MVP. He was the NL MVP for the Dodgers in 1949.
  3. Jackie Robinson debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947 and went hitless (0-for-3) with a walk.
  4. Jackie’s first hit was a bunt single off the Boston Braves’ Glenn Elliott. Robinson bunted 42 times, collecting 19 hits, during his rookie season.
  5. Jackie wore number 5 when playing for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues in 1945.
  6. When Jackie joined the Dodgers he played first base, a position he had never played before. The following offseason the Dodgers traded Eddie Stanky to the Braves, and Jackie became the second baseman and Gil Hodges the first baseman.
  7. Jackie ended up with 748 games playing second, 256 games playing third, 197 games at first, 162 games in the outfield, and one game at short.
  8. In 1947, Jackie was baseball’s first Rookie of the Year, an award that is now named for him.
  9. Robinson hit 137 homers in his career, hitting highs of 19 each in 1951 and 1952.
  10. Dodgers’ teammate Duke Snider hit 42 homers in 1953 and 1955 while another Dodgers’ teammate Gil Hodges hit 42 homers in 1954.
  11. Josh Reddick, Brennan Boesch, Scott Podsednick, Kosuke Fukodome , Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan, and announcer Joe Garagiola are among 24 players who have hit 42 homers in their careers.
  12. Jackie Robinson was the first athlete to earn letters in four sports at UCLA playing football, basketball, track, and baseball.
  13. Robinson had 54 triples in his career. Angel Pagan, Adam KennedyB.J. SurhoffRoger MarisDavid DeJesusChris Chambliss and Jim Northrup are among the 26 players with 42 triples in their careers.
  14. Robinson stole 197 bases in his career with a high of 37 in 1949.
  15. Last season, Michael Bourn stole 42 bases.
  16. Last season, Rafael Soriano, Jason Motte, and Craig Kimbrel each had 42 saves.
  17. In 1989, at the age of 42, Nolan Ryan led the AL in strikeouts with 301.
  18. Trevor Hoffman is the only pitcher with two 42 save seasons.
  19. Chad Durbin, Jason Hammel, John Lannon, Jon Rauch, and Jason Vargas each have 42 career wins.
  20. Jackie’s middle name is “Roosevelt” in honor of Teddy Roosevelt.
  21. Robinson Cano was named in honor of Jackie Robinson and wears uni #24 (the reverse of 42).
  22. Players wearing #42 on Jackie Robinson Day was originally the idea of Ken Griffey, Jr.
  23. Jackie never struck out more than 40 times in a season.
  24. In 1947, Johnny Mize struck out 42 times while hitting 51 homers.
  25. Phil Cavarretta struck out 42 times in three seasons.
  26. Jackie was hit by 72 pitches in his career.
  27. Miguel Cabrera, Chris Ianetta, and Jayson Werth have each been hit by 42 pitches in their career.
  28. Jackie walked 740 times in his career, walking 106 times in 1952.
  29. Sparky Anderson walked 42 times in his career.
  30. In 1947, Hank Thompson became the first African American player to play for the St. Louis Browns. In 1949, he became the first black to play for the NY Giants (and in the process became the first to play both in the AL and the NL). In 1949, Thompson walked 42 times.
  31. In 1968, Bob Gibson set a modern MLB record with an ERA of 1.12. Gibby has said, “If I were in Jackie’s shoes, I probably never would have made it”
  32. In 1949, Jackie had 124 RBI by far the most he ever had in his career (next were the 95 RBI in 1953).
  33. In 1996-97, Joe Morgan had back-to-back 42 RBI seasons.
  34. Bob Miller, who pitched for the Phillies in the 1950’s, finished his career with a record of 42-42.
  35. Jackie Robinson won numerous awards including the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and of course, the National League Most Valuable Player Award.
  36. Huston Street, Will Ohman, and Charlie Morton have each surrendered 42 homers in their career.
  37. Jackie retired at age of 37 following the 1956 season. In his final public appearance at the 1972 World Series, Jackie called for baseball to hire black managers. In 1975, Frank Robinson was hired by the Indians as a player-manager.
  38. Jackie Robinson was the first African American inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962, but the second Robinson. Wilbert Robinson was inducted in 1945, Frank Robinson in 1982, and Brooks Robinson in 1983.
  39. Jackie’s #42 was officially retired by the Dodgers on June 4, 1972 along with Sandy Koufax (32) and Roy Campanella (39).
  40. The Cardinals retired #42 on September 17, 2006 in honor of Bruce Sutter.
  41. On April 15, 1997, MLB officially retired Robinson’s jersey # 42. Seven players wearing number 42 at the time were “grandfathered in” and allowed to continue wearing it. Those seven players were: Butch Huskey – Mets, Mike Jackson – Indians, Scott Karl – Brewers, Jose Lima – Astros, Mariano Rivera – Yankees, Mo Vaughn – Red Sox, and Lenny Webster – Orioles. The last active player to wear #42 is Mariano Rivera.
  42. I love walkoffs; Jackie Robinson hit five walkoff homers in his career.
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