Even a young Yankees fan appreciates Robinson's contributions to MLB more than 50 years after his retirement.
By 1956, age and diabetes had begun to take their toll on Robinson’s playing career. While his numbers improved across the board from his disastrous 1955 season, this would be Robinson’s final season playing for the Dodgers.
Though he hit just .275 in 117 games, he helped Brooklyn win one last NL Pennant. Robinson’s career ended the same way that it began, with a heartbreaking, Game 7 loss to the Yankees in the World Series.
For his career, Robinson hit .311 with 947 runs scored and 197 stolen bases in 1382 games played. While those numbers may appear to be pedestrian in this era of performance-enhanced statistics, Robinson is widely recognized as one of the best players in MLB history.
ESPN.com’s recent Hall of 100 ranking of the top MLB players of all time has Robinson ranked No. 52 on the list. A 1998 Sporting News piece has him listed at No. 44 and baseball writer Bill James’ book, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, recognizes Robinson as the 32nd-best player ever.
Regardless of where you rank his accomplishments statistically, Robinson’s historical impact on Major League Baseball is undeniable. All players and fans, not just African-Americans, should be grateful for his career and what he meant to the game.