Jackie Robinson Jr. died in a car accident at the age of 24

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The Tragic Death of Jackie Robinson Jr.

Jackie Robinson Jr. died in a car accident at the age of 24

Jackie Robinson Jr.’s Tragic Death

Jackie Robinson overcame a great deal of difficulty in his life. As the first Black player in the modern era of Major League Baseball, he faced numerous instances of prejudice, first with the Montreal Royals in Triple-A and later with the Brooklyn Dodgers in the majors.

Despite all of these difficulties, Robinson persisted.

The Georgia native refused to give in to the hatred and conducted himself throughout his career with unrivaled dignity and class.

Robinson went on to become one of baseball’s top players, winning Rookie of the Year in 1947, National League MVP in 1949, and a World Series triumph in 1955.

However, despite all of the challenges that came with becoming MLB’s first Black player, the sorrow he suffered when his oldest son, Jackie Robinson Jr., was killed in a car accident in June 1971 certainly paled in comparison.

Jackie Robinson Jr., Jackie Robinson’s oldest son, overcame drug addiction to become a rehab counselor

Robinson Jr. was born on November 9, 1946, a little more than five months before Jackie Robinson made his major-league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Robinson Jr. struggled with several emotional disorders as a child and was placed in special education at a young age.

He dropped out of high school during his senior year to join the Army in quest of a more regimented atmosphere.

Jackie Robinson’s oldest son
Jackie Robinson’s oldest son overcame drug addiction to become a rehab counselor Source: Sportscasting

Robinson Jr. served in the Army for three years, including time in Vietnam, according to the Seattle Times.


On November 19, 1965, he was wounded in action while attempting to save a fellow soldier who later died.

He developed a drug addiction after being discharged. His parents thought it began while he was in Vietnam.

However, Robinson Jr., like his father, conquered adversity.

He spent two years sober at the Daytop Village recovery clinic in Connecticut, where he later rose to the position of assistant regional director.

In that capacity, he frequently lectured to groups of young people about the hazards of drug usage, something Robinson Sr. also did.

Jackie Robinson Jr. died in an automobile accident when he was 24 years old

Robinson Jr. was killed in an automobile accident on June 17, 1971, in Norwalk, Connecticut.

According to the New York Times, he was speeding toward his parents’ home in Stamford when he drove through a fence and into an abutment on the Merritt Parkway near Route 123.

At the scene, Robinson Jr. was pronounced deceased.

The Tragic Death of Jackie Robinson Jr.
The Tragic Death of Jackie Robinson Jr. Source: sportscasting

A short time later, his younger brother David recognized his body at a neighboring hospital.

Robinson Sr. left his house to accompany his wife home from a convention in Massachusetts.

Rachel was an assistant professor of psychology at Yale at the time.

Jackie Robinson Jr. was only 24 years old when he died.

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Jackie Robinson died a little more than 16 months later

Robinson Sr. died of a heart attack on October 24, 1972, just over 16 months after losing his son.

For years, the 53-year-old struggled with diabetes and heart disease complications, which nearly blinded him. Over 2,500 people attended his burial.