Jackie Robinson makes his professional baseball debut with the Montréal Royals

April 18, 2017

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson of the Montreal Royals, July 9, 1946, Conrad Poirier. Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, Conrad Poirier Fonds, P48S1P12829

April 18, 1946

On April 18, 1946, Jackie Robinson debuted for the Montreal Royals — the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Minor League affiliate — and thereby became the first acknowledged Black person to play professional baseball in the 20th century. The Dodgers assigned Robinson to Montréal because of its reputation for racial tolerance. During his lone season with the Royals, Robinson was subjected to hostile crowds on the road, but was adored at home games in Montréal, which established a new club attendance record that year. Robinson won the International League batting title and was mobbed by jubilant Montreal Royals fans following their Minor League World Series championship victory.

Each day for 150 days leading up to the opening of the Canadian History Hall, we’re presenting one moment among the many that have shaped our country. Discover more of Canada’s significant historical events in the new Canadian History Hall, opening July 1, 2017.