From SABR member Bill Young at the Montreal Gazette on May 3, 2016:
It’s been 70 years since that April 18, 1946, day when Jackie Robinson first stepped up to the plate in New Jersey as a member of the International League Montreal Royals and formally, irrevocably, absolutely, shattered the obscene colour barrier that had shaped all organized baseball to that moment. He struck out.
But not next time. Next time up he belted a home run, obliterating forever the specious myth that blacks were not good enough to compete at baseball with whites.
Robinson was brilliant in Montreal, piloting the Royals to the Little World Series Championship, and earning MVP honours en route.
The following year he joined the National League Brooklyn Dodgers, was named Rookie of the Year and led his club into the World Series. The rest is history.
It is also incomplete. For as much as Robinson stands tall as the lodestar of baseball’s integration, it’s useful to remember that in 1946 he was not alone in helping the game shed its iron curtain of shame.
Five others players of colour shared that burden. Four were Dodgers’ farm hands; the other was Manny McIntyre of Fredericton, N.B.
Originally published: May 3, 2016. Last Updated: May 3, 2016.