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Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play baseball in the modern major leagues. That may not seem like a big deal today -- but in 1947 it was a very big deal. Until Jackie stepped up to the plate, African Americans couldn't play on most professional sports teams. TIME For Kids® Biographies help make a connection between the lives of past heroes and the events of today. Because of Jackie's courage and perseverance, people of all colors now participate in America's favorite pastime. Jackie worked hard and proved to the world that it's your character and talent -- not the color of your skin -- that really matters.