Robinson went on to become a star as well as a pioneer during nine seasons with the Dodgers.
Dodgers President Branch Rickey bucked the culture of baseball and of a country that had just fought a war with a segregated military. Rickey told Robinson that for his first three years he would have to take all the insults thrown at him.
"To this day, I don't know how he withstood the things he did without lashing back," Hank Aaron wrote in Time Magazine in 1999. "I've been through a lot in my time, and I consider myself to be a patient man, but I know I couldn't have done what Jackie did. I don't think anybody else could have done it. Somehow, though, Jackie had the strength to suppress his instincts, to sacrifice his pride for his people."
Robinson won a string of awards from Rookie of the Year in 1947 -- his first season with the Dodgers -- to his 1962 induction as the first black player in baseball's Hall of Fame. He died on Oct. 24, 1972, 27 years and a day after signing with Rickey.