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  The First Baseball Game

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African-American Baseball History
May 2002

Although 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.

Robinson's 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.

Prior 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.

Next: Minor Leagues


 
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