Major League Baseball is the oldest of four major professional sports leagues in Canada and the United States. Today there are 30 teams that play in the National League and the American League; 15 teams each. The National League and the American League ran separately from 1876 to 1901 until, in 1903, the leagues merged together into one organization. It's this organization that supervises the Minor League Baseball that has 240 teams connected to the Major League clubs. Do you think you can hit a home run when it comes to what you know about the MLB? Or will you be stuck on the home plate? Take a swing!
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In American baseball, the Baseball Color Line was an unspoken rule that excluded African American players from the Major League Baseball and Minor Leagues until 1947. Racial segregation in professional baseball was called a gentleman’s agreement because there wasn’t a written policy on the higher levels of organized baseball. In 1887, a minor league vote went against allowing new contracts to African American players within its league.
In 1945, Jackie Robinson accepted an offer to play professional baseball in the Negro leagues, which were professional baseball leagues with teams predominantly made up of African Americans. However, teams in the other leagues soon began to integrate their rosters. It was the mid-1940s when Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, began to scout the Negro leagues for an addition to the Dodger’s roster. That was when Robinson was selected from an extensive list of potential players.
When the Dodgers started Robinson at first base, it signaled the beginning of the end of racial segregation in professional baseball. Of course, there was some controversy in the Dodger’s clubhouse as some players refused to play alongside Robinson and opted to sit out of the game.
Robinson was the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. In the end, Robinson retired from baseball at the age of 37 on January 5, 1957.
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