Brooklyn Dodgers 1955
In the 1940s and 1950s, Branch Rickey, the co-owner of the Brooklyn, Dodgers, assembled one of the greatest teams in baseball history. This team picture from 1955—the year Brooklyn won its only World Series—includes Pee Wee Reese, Carl Furillo, Gil Hodges, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, and Carl Erskine. At the team’s heart, however, was Major League Baseball’s first African American player, Jackie Robinson (back row, standing at far right). Rickey carefully selected Robinson (1919–1972) to “break the color barrier,” not only because of “Robbie’s” talent, but because he had faith in Robinson’s inner strength. He made Robinson promise not to respond for one year to racist taunts from fans and players. Robinson was rookie of the year in 1947. In his ten years as a Brooklyn Dodger, he led the team to six pennants and a World Series victory and ended his career with a batting average of .311.
National Portrait Gallery