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Jackie Robinson greets the world in Google doodle on his birthday

January 31, 2013|By Dan Loumena | This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
  • Google's doodle of Jackie Robinson
Google's doodle of Jackie Robinson (Google )

Jackie Robinson, the Dodgers infielder who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, would have turned 94 today, so Google honored him with a doodle.

Those outside of Los Angeles know him for his baseball exploits, when he entered the majors as the first African American and was the National League rookie of the year in 1947 and the NL's most valuable player in 1949.

He was born in Cairo, Ga., to a family of sharecroppers, the youngest of five children. After his father left the family, his mother, Mallie, moved the family to California. The rest is history. A rich history.

PHOTOS: Google Doodles of 2013 | And 2012

In the City of Angels, he was a four-sport star at Muir High School in Pasadena, playing baseball, basketball and football as well as competing for the track and field team. He excelled at all of them, becoming the first athlete to letter in all four at UCLA, where he would meet future wife Rachel Issum, a nursing student. If that's not enough, he also played high school tennis.

He played 10 seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers, finishing with a .311 career batting average. A six-time all-star, he won the 1949 NL batting title with a .342 average and helped the Dodgers win the 1955 World Series.

Once retired, he continued to be a trailblazer. He was the first black television analyst covering the majors and the first black vice president of a major American corporation. In 1962, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and later received two of the highest honors the U.S. can bestow on a citizen: the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. His jersey No. 42 was eventually retired by MLB for all teams, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera the last to wear the treasured number.

[For the Record, 7:42 a.m. Jan. 31: An earlier version of this post stated that Jackie Robinson was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The award is known as the Congressional Gold Medal.]

Need more? You'll get it with the release in April of a movie in his honor: "42." A trailer is below.

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