In 1949, Jackie Robinson had the best year of his baseball career. His statistics were incredible; he hit for average and power, played great defense, stole bases, and drove in over a hundred runs. All this a mere three years after breaking baseball’s color barrier.
So, then, in 1950, what did he do?
He sold televisions to supplement his income.
In 1950, the New Yorker published a short piece about the Brooklyn Dodgers’ infielder in its Talk of the Town section.
Before the advent of stadium lights, of course, baseball was played exclusively during the day. So, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon — Robinson worked at Sunset Appliance in Rego Park, Queens.
Once there, the reigning National League MVP would hawk TV sets to his new clients. Said company president, Joseph Rudnick:
“Jackie signs some baseballs and explains about the double steal. He’s a natural salesman, with a natural modesty that appeals to buyers. The salesman wrapped up in himself makes a very small package.”