Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972)
Robinson was a man of many firsts… he was the first black television analyst in MLB, and the first black vice president of a major American corporation, Chock full o’Nuts. In the 1960s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank, an African-American-owned financial institution based in Harlem, New York.
At UCLA, he became the school’s first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: baseball, basketball, football, and track.
In track and field, Robinson won the 1940 NCAA Men’s Track and Field Championships in the long jump, jumping 24 ft 10 1⁄4 in (7.58 m). Belying his future career, baseball was Robinson’s “worst sport” at UCLA; he hit .097 in his only season, although in his first game he went 4-for-4 and twice stole home.
Serving as an officer in WWII stationed at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, Robinson met a former player for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League, who encouraged Robinson to write the Monarchs and ask for a tryout. Robinson took the former player’s advice and wrote to Monarchs’ co-owner Thomas Baird.
The rest, as they say is history.