In the early 1800s, American's began playing baseball on informal teams with local rules. Because of baseball's popularity, it was often described as America's "national pastime." The rules and teams of baseball became official by the late 1800s. The first official team with salaries was the Cincinnati Red Stockings. During the early 1900s, blacks were not allowed to play on white professional teams. Some baseball owners tried to hire blacks by calling them Hispanic or Indian. Some interracial games occurred when major league white teams played black teams in barnstorming games.(Williams 108).
African Americans played baseball throughout the 1800s. The Negro Leagues began in the late 1920s. The St. Louis Black Stockings, and the Cuban Giants were the first all black pro baseball team formed. In the winter, many blacks played baseball in other countries because segregation did not exist. The black players would travel back the United States in the summer to play in the Negro Leagues. Segregation in baseball came to an end in 1945. Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, concluded that segregation in major league baseball was morally wrong; he also realized that it was politically indefensible in New York State and that integration might bring more fans to the ballpark.(Williams 110) Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play major league baseball forever changing the color barrier during the nineteenth century.
The grandson of a slave, Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia; he was the youngest of five children. After his father abandoned the family when Robinson was six months old, his mother, Mallie Robinson, moved them to California in search of work. Robinson attended Pasadena Junior College and the University of California at .
Los Angeles (UCLA). He acquired outstanding athletic ability and became the first UCLA student athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: football, basketball, baseball, and track.