On October 15, 1972, Jackie Robinson threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the second game of the World Series commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of his becoming the first African-American to play in modern Major League Baseball. His Major League career began in earnest on April 15, 1947, when played in his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Following his retirement from baseball, Robinson worked as vice president for personnel at Chock Full O' Nuts from 1957 to 1964. He was also active with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In December 1956, the NAACP had recognized Robinson with the Spingarn Medal, which it awards annually for the highest achievement by an African American. Robinson chaired the NAACP's million-dollar Freedom Fund Drive in 1957 and was a member of the board of directors until 1967.
Many other groups also honored Robinson. In July 1962, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference held a testimonial dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Although SCLC president Martin Luther King was not able to attend, King's speech recognized the positive impact of Robinson's achievements beyond baseball.