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All American Game | Story | 8/10/2011

Jackie Robinson Award Finalists

Patrick Ebert        
Photo: Perfect Game

The Jackie Robinson Award, named for the late Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and former Brooklyn Dodger, is awarded annually to the Perfect Game National Player of the Year – the All-American considered the nation’s top high school prospect. The award is presented to the player who exhibits outstanding character, leadership, is involved in his community and embodies the values of being a student-athlete.

Jackie Robinson came from humble beginnings as the son of a sharecropper in Cairo, Georgia, to become the first black player to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier that had segregated the sport for more than 50 years. Jackie Robinson was not only a skilled baseball player, he was an excellent all-around athlete. At UCLA, Robinson became the first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: Baseball, football, basketball and track.

After attending UCLA, Robinson briefly served in the U.S. Army, and after receiving an honorable discharge, he played one season in Negro Baseball League in 1945. Two years later in 1947, Robinson was approached by the Brooklyn Dodgers about joining their franchise. When he donned their uniform, he not only became the first black player in Major League Baseball since the sport was segregated in 1889, he pioneered the integration in professional sports in America. Through his integration, Robinson courageously challenged the racism that existed in both the north and the south in America at that time. At the end of Robinson’s rookie season with the Dodgers, he won the National League batting title (.342) on his way to earning the league's Rookie of the Year and MVP honors.

Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 and was inducted into UCLA’s Hall of Fame in 1984.

On April 15, 1997, exactly 50 years after he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, the entire nation honored his legacy. Robinson’s No. 42 jersey number was retired league-wide, the first and only player to earn this honor. That same day, President Bill Clinton paid tribute to Robinson at the New York Mets’ Shea Stadium in a special ceremony. Robinson was also honored by the United States Postal Service that year with a commemorative postage stamp.

Jackie Robinson’s life and legacy will continue to be remembered as one of the most important in American history.

2011 Jackie Robinson Award Finalists

Taylore Cherry
6-1 record with a 2.32 ERA, 102 strikeouts in 59 innings

Joey Gallo
Batted .471 with 25 home runs and 76 RBI; 1.12 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 19 innings

Lucas Giolito
9-1 record with a 1.00 ERA, 78 strikeouts in 70.33 innings

C.J. Hinojosa
Batted .405 with 17 home runs, 61 RBI, a .461 on-base percentage at 12 stolen bases

Lance McCullers
Batted .422 with 7 home runs and 24 RBI; 2.02 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 52 innings

Duane Underwood
Batted .361 with 5 home runs and 20 RBI; 6-1 record with a 2.32 ERA

Nick Williams
Batted .537 with 13 home runs, 30 RBI, a .627 on-base percentage and 14 stolen bases

Trey Williams
Batted .345 with 9 home runs, 20 RBI, a .446 on-base percentage and 28 runs

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