The Rookie That Changed The Game

61 years ago, Jackie Robinson won the Rookie of the Year award.  In that year, he became the picture of perseverance, the face of a dream, and a bridge to a better future.  His meaning to the game and the country will never be forgotten. 

But how about his numbers?

I’ve obviously known about Jackie Robinson for years, but have never taken the time to realize just who he was when he stepped into the batters’ box.  With today being the anniversary of his rookie recognition, I decided to look up some numbers and share them with you all.

In 10 seasons, Jackie had a career batting average of .311, while hitting over .300 for 6 years in a row. 

In his MVP year of 1949, he put up a .342 batting average, 203 hits, 38 doubles, 12 triples, 37 steals and 124 RBIs.  The interesting thing about his season is that he knocked in all of those runs with “only” 16 home runs.  That’s professional hitting because that means only 13% of his RBIs were his own runs.  Contrast that with Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins, whose MVP numbers saw over 30% of their RBIs come from the run they scored on their own home run.  I’m not diminishing the importance of their seasons, I’m just differentiating between the style. 

The most he ever struck out in one season was 40 times.  For his career he had 734 walks and  only 291 strikeouts.  To put that in perspective, all time strike out leader Reggie Jackson, struck out more from 1968-1969 than Robsinson did in 10 years. 

Those numbers would be impressive enough under normal circumstances.  But to have done all that while facing tremendous adversity?  It makes for an incredible performance on the field, eclipsed only by his inspiring and courageous performance that was his life. 

So today we can remember all of the reasons why he’s a Hall of Famer.  From the box scores to the color barrier, he changed the game in ways that will never be forgotten.


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