This Day In Dodgers History: Jackie Robinson Wins Spingarn Medal
Dodgers Select California-based Sculptor Branly Cadet To Create Jackie Robinson Statue

On Jan. 8, 1956, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People awarded Jackie Robinson the Spingarn Medal for his strong support of civil rights initiatives.

The Brooklyn Dodgers and Robinson made history on April 15, 1947, when he became the first African-American player in the Major Leagues. From that point, he became one of baseball’s best players despite constant racism toward him that included threats on his life.

Off the field, Robinson became a Civil Rights icon, helping to raise money for the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and he also participated in Civil Rights marches, including the “March on Washington.”

The Spingarn Medal has been awarded annually since 1915 to honor “the man or woman of African descent and American citizenship who shall have made the highest achievement during the preceding year or years in any honorable field.”

The award is named after Joel Elias Spingarn, who was a writer and civil rights activist who served as president of the NAACP from 1930-39.

According to the NAACP, the Spingarn Medal is meant to bring awareness to the achievements among Americans of African descent and to inspire African American youth.

It was first awarded to Ernest Everett Just, a zoologist, and most recently to Cato T. Laurencin, an engineer and physician.

The year after Robinson won the award, it was given to civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron also won the award in 1975. He and Robinson are the only two athletes to win the award.

The year 1956 also ended up being Robinson’s last playing professional baseball after spending 10 seasons with the Dodgers.

On Dec. 13, the Dodgers traded him to their rival New York Giants, however, Robinson elected to retire rather than play for an arch rival.

In his 10 seasons with the Dodgers, Robinson batted .311/.409/.474 with 137 home runs, 734 RBIs, 197 stolen bases, a 135 wRC+ and 57.2 WAR. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

David Price: ‘Extremely Special’ to record save on Jackie Robinson Day

Every April 15 in MLB is Jackie Robinson Day, where all players wear Robinson’s No. 42 to honor him.

Last season, David Price picked up the save for the Dodgers on Jackie Robinson Day in a 7-5 victory against the Colorado Rockies.

“That’s the first time I’ve been able to pitch on this day, so that was extremely special to me,” he said.

“Especially wearing the Dodger Blue. I wanted to go out there and finish the game, get that save. First two hitters didn’t end up the way I wanted to but we were able to continue to make pitches and things ended up the way I envisioned they would.”

Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!