Thursday, August 14, 2008
Jackie Robinson is Americas best historical athlete, in both significance and ability. Everybody knows about what Jackie Robinson endured as the first African American baseball player, but if you strip out all of the hardships and his cultural significance completely and simply take a look at Jackie Robinson the athlete he still arguably ranks as Americas best athlete. Why? Because he did everything, and everything really well.
Obviously Jackie Robinson was a terrific baseball player. He broke into the Major Leagues when he was 28 and went on to play 10 years in the big leagues. He won the rookie of the year and an MVP award. He finished with career average of .311, 197 steals and 137 home runs while mostly playing 2nd base.
Now lets get into all of this stuff you possibly didn't know.
Did you know that Robinson won the junior boys Pacific Coast Tennis Tournament?
Did you know that Jackie Robinson is the first and only UCLA athlete to letter in 4 sports?
Did you know that Robinson lead the Pacific Coast Conference (the pre-cursor to the Pac-10) in scoring in hoops during his two seasons with the Bruins?
Did you know that Jackie Robinson reached the semifinal in a National Negro Tennis Tournament?
Did you know that he also won Swimming Competitions?
Did you know that Robinson one the Pacific Coast Conference title in the Broad Jump (aka the Long Jump)?
Did you know that as a senior Robinson lead UCLA in rushing, passing, and scoring?
Did you know that he lead the Pacific Coast Conference in punt returning his two seasons?
Did you know that he played for the Honolulu Bears and integrated professional Football Team?
Did you know that he played for the Los Angeles Devils an integrated professional team in the National Basketball League?
Did you know that Jackie Robinson was offered a spot on the Harlem Globetrotters?
Want to here some ridiculous quotes? Here you go:
"I played against Jackie every day in practice," (Dr. John) Johnson told a student reporter at Cal State. "And I haven't tackled him yet. He was the greatest athlete I ever saw. At UCLA, the baseball field used to be next to the track. I threw the discus, and during meets Jackie would come to the track between innings, take one jump - in his baseball uniform you understand - win it and then go back to the ball game." CSTV
Called by a rival coach "the best basketball player in the U.S.," ESPN
“The first player who I ever saw dunking as part of his game was Jackie Robinson,” says former Rens player John Isaacs. Black Fives Blog
“But scoring is the least of the dusky marvel’s accomplishments,” noted the Chicago Defender. “A lightning dribbler and glue-fingered ball handler, his terrific speed makes it impossible for one man to hold him in check.”Black Fives Blog
Jackie Robinson did everything well. He played professional Basketball, Football and is a Hall of Fame baseball player. He ran track, he excelled at tennis the man was a machine. So please, anytime you discuss an athlete the 'greatest of all time' bring up Robinson to start the discussion.