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Celebrating Jackie’s Legacy (Part Three)
KANSAS CITY – Before Jackie Robinson wore number 42 for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he wore No. 5 for the 1945 Kansas City Monarchs.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) has compiled a list of “five” notable facts relative to Robinson’s 1945 season with the Monarchs:
1. Robinson played his first game with the Monarchs on May 6, 1945 and went 1-for-4 with a run-scoring double in the Monarchs 6-2 home-opening defeat of the Chicago American Giants.
2. Robinson primarily stayed at the Street Hotel, a Black owned hotel formerly located on the corner of 18th & The Paseo ( less than a block from where the NLBM currently operates), when the Monarchs were home. He also enjoyed the ribs at Ol’ Kentuck Barbecue. The establishment would later be operated by George Gates, the father of barbeque baron Ollie Gates and the forerunner to Kansas City’s ever-popular Gates Barbeque restaurants.
3. Robinson played in 41 games for the Monarchs and hit .345 with 10 doubles, four triples and five home runs. He was named to the East-West All-Star game that season.
4. Robinson’s Monarchs salary was $400 per month.
5. Robinson replaced all-star Jesse Williams at shortstop. Williams moved over to second base and the two formed a formidable double play combination. Both were named to the East-West All-Star game that season.