Robinson entered the league in 1947 as a 28-year-old, and despite facing an egregious amount of discrimination and hate from white fans, players and managers, he emerged as one of the best players in the sport, appearing in six All-Star games from 1949-54, all the while paving the way for African Americans in the MLB.
Robinson passed away in October of 1972, but the legend has left a resounding mark on the sport of baseball and has his No. 42 jersey retired by every team in the league, with the last player to wear the iconic number being Mariano Rivera.
Today would be Robinson's 100th birthday, and in his honor, here are five of the most impactful quotes Robinson left us with.
Happy birthday, Jackie Robinson.— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 31, 2019
The Major League Baseball legend would have been 100 today. pic.twitter.com/FGtgvRdudk
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."
Robinson was one of the most impactful African-American athletes of all time and this quote exemplifies what he was trying to achieve. Robinson positively affected the lives of millions as he rose to stardom in the major leagues and gave opportunities to those who had none. Despite all of his on-field achievements, Robinson's legacy was made off of the field. That's where he had the biggest impact, helping African Americans with their fight for equality.
"I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me... All I ask is that you respect me as a human being."
Respect was something that was difficult for Robinson to earn during his tenure in the major leagues. He was heavily discriminated against on the basis of his race and no matter what he did right in life, he had to work much harder than those around him. He wasn't concerned with people's opinion on his personality, he just wanted to be respected as a person.
100 years ago today in Cairo, GA, one of the greatest Americans who ever lived was born.— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 31, 2019
Happy birthday, Jackie Robinson. pic.twitter.com/Tfl5eoiWxY
"The most luxurious possession, the richest treasure anybody has, is his personal dignity."
Robinson would not have achieved even close to what he did on the field if he wasn't a dignified individual. He would show up every day with the mindset that he deserved to be on the Brooklyn Dodgers and he would continue to prove himself. While he was playing for wealthy white MLB owners, Robinson felt that true riches could be found within having self-respect.
"The right of every American to first-class citizenship is the most important issue of our time."
Robinson was an important face for the civil rights movement in the United States during his playing days. Robinson wanted nothing more than to be treated equally, but first-class citizenship was a huge issue at the time. He advocated for change and had a lasting impact on the civil rights movement.
Today we celebrate the life and legacy of trailblazer Jackie Robinson on his 100th birthday. In this 1961 letter to JFK, he expresses his concerns about how JFK would handle civil rights issues. pic.twitter.com/U8BmQNusEp— JFK Library (@JFKLibrary) January 31, 2019
"Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion, you're wasting your life."
Robinson's quote here was somewhat of a call to action for African Americans, while also a shot at those who criticize his baseball performances. He's urging people to get up off of the sidelines and take charge of their own life, rather than watching someone else's. Robinson felt it was a waste of a life for someone to spend all of their time watching things happen, rather than making things happen.