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Jackie Robinson and April 18 in Canadian history

Over the course of the past couple of hundred years or so, plenty of interesting events have taken place in Canada on the 18th of April.

In 1793, for instance, a newspaper by the name of The Upper Canada Gazette issued its premiere edition. This was Upper Canada's first newspaper.

In 1960, on April 18th, President Charles de Gaulle of France arrived in Ottawa for a four-day state visit.

But probably the most impactful event of all didn't actually take place in Canada.

On April 18th, 1946, the Montreal Royals of the International League opened their regular season with a game in Newark, New Jersey.

Wearing number 28 for the Royals was a 27 year old "rookie" by the name of Jackie Robinson. Oh, he also happened to be African-American.

First, some background information: The Montreal Royals were a minor league professional baseball team located in Montreal, Quebec, that existed from 1897–1917 and 1928–60 as a member of the International League and its progenitor, the original Eastern League.

The team holds a unique place in baseball history for being the first major-league affiliate to break the so-called "baseball colour barrier"

Robinson was the best known of the barrier breakers with the Royals during that 1946 season. John Wright and Roy Partlow, black pitchers, also played with the Royals that year.

Robinson played 124 games with the Montreal Royals in 1946, winding up with a batting average of .349, a runs batted in total of 66 and a final stolen-base number of 40.

As has been widely reported over the years, Robinson was welcomed immediately by the Montreal public, who followed his performance that season "with intense adoration."

For an interesting look at Robinson's time with the Montreal Royals, try to find a copy of "Baseball's fabulous Montreal Royals" by William Brown. Oh, and some other interesting baseball names with Royal connections include Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, TV star Chuck Connors and notable Dodger managers such as Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda.

April 18th, Montreal, and Jackie Robinson -- the stuff of memories.

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