WHEATIES box featuring Jackie Robinson.
On November 14, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first winner of the national BBW Rookie of the Year Award, or the J. Louis Comiskey Memorial Award, as it was called at that time.
The award was named after the White Sox executive, son of Hall of Famer Charles Comiskey. The rookie award was originated in 1940 by the Chicago chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWA).
The national BBWA took over the award in 1947. Originally it was a single award for the Major Leagues, in 1949 they chose to award one player from each of the two leagues.
A 28-year old in only his third professional season, Robinson played first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, a position he had never played before. He led the league in stolen bases and helped the club to their first pennant in six years.
The first African American in the Major Leagues in the 20th Century, his success was earned in spite of racial taunts from fans and players and segregated hotels and restaurants in some of the cities in the league.
Many in America followed Robinson's "great experiment." He drew large crowds in Brooklyn and on the road, was featured on the radio and in national magazines, and was selected as the second most popular American in a national poll (behind Bing Crosby).
Jackie Robinson had been a four-sport star at UCLA and played professional football and basketball before joining the Army in 1942. He played Professional Baseball for one season in the Negro Leagues, with the Kansas City Monarchs, before signing with Brooklyn's Branch Rickey.
He was sent to play in the Minor Leagues with Montreal in 1946 where he led the league in batting and runs scored, and his team won the pennant.
In 1962, Robinson was the first African American to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Courtesy of mlb.com