Jackie Robinson’s sole surviving jersey from his 1947 rookie season realised $2m at Heritage Auctions on November 17.
Robinson was the first African-American player to break Major League Baseball’s rigidly enforced colour barrier.
Jackie Robinson made his Major League Baseball debut in 1947
He was signed by Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey, who was morally opposed to segregation.
The so-called Negro leagues, where Robinson started his career, were a hotbed of talent and Rickey wanted to ensure that other players would be able to follow Robinson’s path.
Robinson was signed on the basis he would not react to the taunts and injustices he would have to endure.
If he snapped, he would jeopardise not only his own career but the careers of all those to follow.
The pressure must have been enormous.
It’s testament to Robinson’s talent that even with the odds stacked against him he produced a stunning first season.
At the end of the year he was awarded baseball’s inaugural Most Valuable Player award.
The sale follows on from the auction of Robinson’s rookie season cap for a record breaking $590,000 a few weeks ago.
The record for a baseball jersey remains $4.4m, set for one Babe Ruth wore in the 1920s (shortly after his move from the Red Sox to the Yankees).
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