New Jersey does not have a major league team, its contributions
to baseball did not end with the first game in Hoboken. What
many would call the most important minor league game in history
was played in New Jersey. On April 18, 1946 - almost exactly
100 years after the first official baseball game was played
at the Elysian Fields - Jackie Robinson made his professional
debut at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City.
Montreal Royals beat the Jersey City Giants to mark the beginning
of the racial integration of baseball. Robinson belted a three-run
homer, hit three singles, stole two bases, and had a total
of four runs batted in. A year later, Robinson shattered major
league baseball's color line, becoming National League Rookie
of the Year as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
to baseball's integration, some of the Negro League's best
teams and players called New Jersey home. The 1946 Newark Eagles
won 75 percent of their games en route to the Negro World Series
Championship. Five future Baseball
Hall of Famers played for the Eagles, including Paterson's
Larry Doby, who broke the color barrier in the American League
as a member of the Cleveland Indians.