Jackie Robinson integrated major league baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. A year earlier, he went to Sanford as a prospect with the Montreal Royals, Brooklyn’s top minor league team. He made the Montreal roster and played that season with the team. Robinson was then promoted to the big leagues, where he made history 65 years ago.
If Robinson had failed to make the Montreal team in 1946, it is unlikely he would have broken baseball’s color line when he did. If Sanford had had things its way, this would’ve happened.
Chris Lamb, a professor at the College of Charleston, is author of Conspiracy of Silence: Sportswriters and the Long Campaign to Desegregate Baseball.