Mr. Robinson was the first black player in U.S. Major League Baseball. He made history in 1947 when he made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, a famed New York team that has since moved to Los Angeles. The Hall of Fame player died in 1972 at age 53.
On Wednesday, lawmakers in Washington honored Robinson with the Congressional Gold Medal for his early role in the civil rights movement. His wife, Rachel, was handed the prestigious award. She hoped the honor would help continue to promote racial equality in the United States.
"It is my passionate hope that this tribute will contribute to the continued striving for social justice. And will inspire our young people to join the effort and press forward with determination and courage," she said.
The second baseman was a solid hitter who had a .311 lifetime batting average and was a speedy baserunner who stole home plate 19 times, one of the game's hardest plays. Robinson played with the Dodgers during his entire 10-year career, helping the team reach the World Series six times. The Dodgers won the championship in 1955 against its crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees.