Today we celebrate what would be the 99th birthday of one of the most talked about men of the last century, Jackie Robinson. Love him or hate him, Jackie Robinson tended to get a reaction out of people.
So, we thought it was only fitting that on his 99th birthday, we would celebrate with a list of nine of the most important and insightful things people have said about him over the years.
Some of these quotes can be seen outside the future home of the Jackie Robinson Museum (at 75 Varick Street in New York City) along with larger than life photos of Jackie Robinson, a fitting tribute to this larger than life icon whose birthday we celebrate today.
1. “A credit to baseball and to America.”
Branch Rickey, Hall of Fame general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers
2. “To do what he did has got to be the most tremendous thing I’ve ever seen in sports.”
Pee Wee Reese, Hall of Fame Dodger shortstop and teammate of Jackie Robinson
3. “The greatest moment in the history of baseball”
MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred on Jackie Robinson joining the Brooklyn Dodgers
4. “He gave the black community a sense of hope, a sense of pride.”
John Lewis, civil rights leader and congressman
5. “A black person who had made it against the most tremendous odds.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
6. “Jackie’s character was much more important than his batting average.”
Hank Aaron, Hall of Fame outfielder
7. “Jackie Robinson made his country and you and me and all of us a shade more free.”
Roger Kahn, author/sportswriter
8. “There’s a direct line between Jackie Robinson and me.”
Barack Obama, 44th U.S. President
9. “A giant in my eyes.”
Rachel Robinson, wife of Jackie Robinson and Founder of the Jackie Robinson Foundation