On Jan. 8, 1957, former Brooklyn Dodgers star Jackie Robinson announced his retirement from baseball in Look Magazine. The magazine paid $50,000 for the story, which is more than he ever made in a single season.
All 10 of Robinson’s big league seasons came with the Dodgers, but not without some intrigue. In December 1956, the Dodgers traded Robinson to the New York Giants.
But instead of playing for the Giants, Robinson elected to retire due to not wanting to play for a rival. Because Robinson announced his retirement, the trade in which the Dodgers would’ve received Dick Littlefield and $30,000, was voided.
In his career with the Dodgers, Robinson won a National League Rookie of the Year Award, was named NL MVP and played in six All-star games. He batted .311 with 137 home runs, 734 RBIs and 197 stolen bases. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
More than his stats on the field, Robinson will forever be known for breaking baseball’s color barrier. He did so on April 15, 1947, and all players now wear his iconic No. 42 on that date each year.
The Pasadena native and former UCLA star has since received statues outside of Dodger Stadium, Jackie Robinson Stadium at UCLA and the Rose Bowl. His statue outside of Dodger stadium which was unveiled on Jackie Robinson Day last April.
Robinson was very active in both sports and politics as a broadcasting analyst after his retirement, but complications from heart disease and diabetes weakened Robinson and made him almost blind by middle age. On Oct. 24, 1972, he died of a heart attack.