Jackie Robinson’s First Game in Organized Baseball-Jersey City, April 18, 1946

By guest blogger Bruce Solomon

Jackie Robinson and George “Shotgun” Shuba

Jackie Robinson made his professional debut not in Brooklyn in 1947, but 76 years ago today in Jersey City, when the Dodgers’ Triple A team, the Montreal Royals opened their minor league season in Roosevelt Stadium, the home park of the Jersey City Giants. 

Mayor Hague declared Opening Day in Jersey City a holiday for city employees and school children.  On April 18, 1946, Jackie Robinson, wearing a Montreal Royals jersey (#9) stepped to the plate in front of 51,837 raucous fans at the over-capacity Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City.  Jackie Robinson settled in for his first official at-bat as a professional in an integrated baseball game.  Nervous?  Perhaps, but not for long.  On a full count pitch in his first at-bat, Robinson grounded out to the shortstop. It was the only out he’d make that day. His next plate appearance was a three-run homer, and he was met at home plate with an outstretched hand by teammate George “Shotgun” Shuba – fixed in time by the famed photograph of the moment when black and white teammates saluted each other on the diamond. Robinson followed up the dinger with a bunt single, a steal of second, and ultimately a balk home after rattling the pitcher dancing down the third base line. Robinson’s final stat line was 4-5 with four RBIs in a 14-1 victory.

Click the link below for more about George Shuba.


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