Today in labor history: Jackie Robinson inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

On this day in 1962 Jackie Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Robinson was the first African American to play major league baseball. A monumental civil rights struggle was undertaken on Robinson’s behalf, in which the left, the Communist Party, and then Daily Worker sports writer Lester Rodney, played a significant role.

Paul Robeson lent his reputation and voice to the campaign. Robinson had an outstanding career in baseball and won many awards including the Most Valuable Rookie (1947) and Most Valuable Player award (1949). Lester Rodney speaking at an Oakland People’s World banquet in 2006 called Robinson a “great American hero.”

“Jackie Robinson changed baseball, and when you’ve changed baseball in this country, you’ve changed this country!” Rodney said.