Jackie Robinson
Most baseball fans know Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier and played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, but what a lot of fans don't know is that Robinson also had a four-month stint in 1945 playing in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs. 

The California native excelled with the Monarchs, unofficially playing 34 games while hitting .375 and posting a 1.049 OPS. 

The Monarchs were a decent team, finishing in third place in the Negro American League with an unofficial record of 52-43-2. 

Philadelphia's lone Negro League club at the time, Ed Bolden's Philadelphia Stars, played in the Negro National League and posted a 25-25 record in league play. 

According to published newspaper accounts, the Stars and Monarchs faced off six times during the 1945 season in Inter-League matchups, with Robinson playing in three contests. 

“When I look back at what I had to go through in black baseball, I can only marvel at the many black players who stuck it out for years in the Jim Crow leagues because they had nowhere else to go," Robinson once said of his brief stint in the Negro Leagues. 

The Monarchs first faced the Stars as part of a four-team doubleheader on June 17, 1945, in New York at Yankee Stadium. Kansas City secured a 3-1 victory as Satchel Paige tossed five solid frames to collect the win. Robinson scored in the seventh and finished with one hit. 

The Monarchs and Stars then made the 100-mile commute south the following morning to Philadelphia, playing at Shibe Park on June 18, 1945. This time the Stars hopped on Paige, pushing five runs across on seven hits en route to a 5-1 victory. Robinson hit third and played shortstop for Kansas City, finishing 2-for-4 with a double. 

Robinson played in one more contest against the Stars during his stint with the Monarchs, starting at shortstop and batting third in a game on August 9, 1945, at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. Wilmer Harris tossed a complete game shutout for the Stars, while Frank Austin and Mahlon Duckett scored for Philadelphia in a 2-0 victory. 

Robinson played one additional game in Philadelphia at Shibe Park during the 1945 season, but it was in the first game of a doubleheader against the Homestead Grays on August 7, 1945. He hit third and started at shortstop for the Monarchs, finishing 0-for-3 though he did score a run in a 3-2 loss. 

According to available newspaper accounts and information on Retrosheet, Robinson played in just three more games with the Monarchs, ending his four-month Negro League stint following a 3-3 tie with the Grays on August 16, 1945, at Griffith Stadium. 

Robinson signed with Brooklyn in October 1945 and returned to Philadelphia and Shibe Park on May 9, 1947, during his first season with the Dodgers. The Phillies won that contest in walk-off fashion with an Emil Verban double that scored Andy Seminick in the 11th inning for a 6-5 victory. Robinson hit second and played first base for the Dodgers while finishing 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored.

The result isn't what made the contest memorable, but rather the racist behavior of some of the players on the Philadelphia bench, including skipper Ben Chapman, commanded the headlines. 

“In terms of race, they yelled everything at me; it was quite vicious,” Robinson said in an interview with Dick Cavett in 1972. “I think the Philadelphia Phillies with Ben Chapman, was perhaps the most vicious of any people in terms of name calling.” 

In total, Robinson played in 98 games at Shibe Park over his career with the Dodgers, hitting .317 with 11 homers and 49 RBIs.
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