Former MLB commissioner: Jackie Robinson changed baseball and America

More than 22 years ago, the former commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, honored an icon forever. Jackie Robinson had his jersey number – 42 – retired. Today, Selig says it’s still a big deal.

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“One of the great things that I did was retiring his number in perpetuity,” he told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday. “The Jackie Robinson story is, I think people don’t quite understand – he not only changed baseball – [he] changed America … really changed America. And when you think of what he did and what [Brooklyn Dodgers general manager] Branch Rickey [did] ... that was phenomenal.”

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Jackie Robinson paved the way for black athletes in professional sports when he broke baseball's color barrier with the Dodgers in 1947 (he won the National League Rookie of the Year award that year). Selig said this may have been one of the hardest years for Robinson, but his widow, Rachel, played a “great role” in getting him through the season.

“It was beyond ugly,” he said.

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Robinson was named National League MVP in 1949. The Dodgers won six pennants within his 10 seasons with the team.

In 1962, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

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