Seventy-five years ago today, on April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson stepped onto the diamond at Ebbets Field and broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.  

I try not to say, "sports hero." An athlete may be electrifying and adored, and do much for their communities.  

But real heroes are people who run into burning buildings to save lives. Heroes are people who enrich the lives of others — and sometimes — move along history.

Jackie Robinson was born a hundred years ago next week, Jan. 31, 1919, in the small, segregated town of Cairo, Ga., the youngest of five children. 

A year later, his father left, and the Robinsons moved to southern California, where Jackie Robinson became one of the most celebrated young athletes in America.

He became 2nd Lt. Robinson in the segregated U.S. Army during World War II, but was court-martialed for refusing to move to the back of a bus on the U.S. Army base in Ft. Hood, Texas.

Jackie Robinson was proudly unapologetic and was acquitted. As he said — many times — "I am not concerned with your liking or disliking me. ... All I ask is that you respect me."

"I had to get a man who could carry the burden," said Mr. Rickey. "I needed a man to carry the badge of martyrdom."