In March 1946, Jackie Robinson was traveling
from California to Florida, hoping to become the first African American baseball
player to break segregation laws in Florida. That spring, Branch Rickey, the
general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, decided he was going to lift the color
bar. The color bar was a system of written and unwritten rules, which kept baseball
players separated by race. He decided to let Jackie
Robinson become the first person to play integrated baseball in Florida. On
March 17, 1946, Jackie Robinson stepped onto City
Island Ballpark in Daytona, in an exhibition game against
the Dodgers. It was the first time a black player played for a minor league
team against a major league team since the color bar was implemented in
baseball in the 1880â€™s. This made Daytona Beach the very first city in Florida to allow integrated
baseball when segregation laws were enforced. It was a historical
moment that paved the way for other baseball teams in Florida to allow integrated
baseball. It served as a spark for the
civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr. said, â€śJackie Robinson made my
success possible, without him, I would never have been able to do what I did.â€ť
The Jackie Robinson commemorative coins
In 1997, the US Mint Issued a silver dollar and a gold half eagle coin to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. They were available in mint state and proof condition. The commemorative coins were designed by William C. Cousins and James Peed. They were sold separately in a two-piece proof set, a four-piece set, a mint set, and also a three-piece legacy set with a baseball card, pin, and a half eagle.
The silver dollarâ€™s obverse depicts him stealing the home plate as he did during a 1955 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers. The reverse depicts the Jackie Robinson Foundationâ€™s 50th anniversary logo of him breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball.
The gold half eagleâ€™s obverse depicts a portrait of Jackie Robinson and the reverse depicts a baseball that says, â€ś1919-1972 Legacy of Courageâ€ť. The uncirculated half eagle is the lowest mintage of all modern commemorative coins. Its mintage is only 5,174 coins.
The Negro Leagues Commemorative Coins
The Negro Leagues Commemorative Coins came in 9 different designs. They included uncirculated and proof half dollar coins. The obverse depicting a baseball player above a Negro League tour bus and the reverse has five Negro League baseball players.
The silver dollarâ€™s obverse depicts a baseball player throwing a baseball and the reverse depicts a baseball being pitched toward the catcher. They come in proof and uncirculated condition. There is also a proof silver dollar with a privy mark below the pitcherâ€™s knee. The privy mark is a baseball diamond with â€ś100â€ť inside of it. 100 is on the privy mark to commemorate 100 years of Negro League baseball teams. There is also a 2-coin set with a silver Jackie Robinson commemorative medal.
The gold half eagle is available in proof and uncirculated condition. The obverse depicts Rube Foster, the founder of Negro League baseball. The reverse depicts someone tipping their cap as a sign of respect for all players. The commemorative coins also come in a three-coin proof set.