When people think historical figures they often imagine rulers, generals, and artists. But history is the sum total of human achievement in every field. Learning about history’s great athletes can teach you plenty about history. Sometimes you’ll learn things from the lives of sports stars that get completely overlooked by the stuffy sort of “great men” history that focuses on kings and queens.
This is especially clear when you look at the great athletes who were in their prime during mid 20th century US history. It was a time when African American players were breaking out of the walls that had held them for so long and showing the world what they were capable of. Let’s look at sports legends of all races and nationalities who helped to shape our world.
This man is one of America’s true sports legends. He was the first African-American to break out of the leagues that black baseball players were forced to play in for decades and enter into MLB.
If that was the only highlight of his career it would be more than enough but he proved to be a phenomenal player. In 1950 he was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers for a record salary of $35,000 per year, more than any Dodger had ever received.