With the adversity and turbulent times that Jackie Robinson endured, it would be understandable if the baseball icon was reclusive. Instead, the affable Robinson was extremely responsive to fans and collectors until his early death in 1972. Robinson regularly answered mail requests and was even a good signer as a collegiate athlete at UCLA, and as a Minor Leaguer. As Robinson became popular at the big league level, he did use a ghost signer from time to time and, like other players during the era, a clubhouse attendant would often add his name to team balls. Finding an authentic Robinson signature on a 1950s Brooklyn Dodger team ball can be challenging. After his career was over, Robinson stayed active and even attended many baseball games. Later in life, his declining health didn’t stop Robinson from continuing to accommodate fans in public settings.
Robinson died in 1972 at the age of 53.
Jack Roosevelt Robinson (January 31, 1919 - October 24, 1972) will forever be remembered for breaking the color barrier as the first black player to play in Major League Baseball since the 1880s. Brooklyn Dodgers President and General Manager Branch Rickey told Robinson he was looking for a Negro player… “with guts enough to not fight back” when facing racial discrimination. Robinson endured unthinkable abuse from fans and occasionally players, but carried himself with dignity and poise as he helped the organization to six National League pennants and the 1955 World Series championship. In 1947, Jackie Robinson won the Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award and in 1949, took home the National League’s Most Valuable Player award. Jackie Robinson played second base, primarily, for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1947-1956) and finished his career with 1,518 hits, 137 home runs, 734 RBI and a .311 batting average. In 1997, Robinson’s number “42” was retired by all Major League Baseball teams. Jack Roosevelt Robinson was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.