Jackie Robinson made history in Jersey City and now you can own it

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MATAWAN -

Only the most hardcore baseball fans may know that legend Jackie Robinson actually broke the professional sports race barrier in Jersey City – one year before he played with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Robinson first played for the AA Montreal Royals and debuted on opening day in 1946 against the Jersey City Giants. The game was played at Roosevelt Stadium April 18, 1946. Robinson was the first black man to play in the professional league.

And now baseball fanatics have a chance to own a piece of that history. A ticket stub from that first game is now up for auction by the Leland Sports Auction House in Matawan.

“This is the only known ticket stub for that game. First game Jackie Robinson every played in professional baseball,” says Josh Evans with the auction.

The ticket only cost $1.70 back in 1946. It is expected to sell for thousands today.

“Never seen another one for sale. Ever,” says Evans.

One person who was at the game on that fateful day was Bill Donohue, father to News 12’s own Brian Donohue. Robinson went four for five during that game, with a three-run homer.

“He was just dominant. He was like a man playing among children. That's what I thought to myself,” says Donohue.

Donohue says that this game was extra special, because unlike places Robinson went on to play later that year and in following years, he wasn't booed or jeered.

“At the end of the game, instead of catcalls, he was actually getting cheered by the Jersey City fans,” Donohue says. “As an 8-year-old we had no idea this [game] was history.”

Evans says that it is possible that there are more ticket stubs from Robinson’s first game out in existence.

“The problem is that people may have this out there and not know it. Because it doesn't say on it ‘Jackie Robinson's first game.’ It just has the date and the year and where it was played. So anybody out there, look in those attics,” Evans says.

As of Monday afternoon the stub was selling for over $3,400. The auction ends Friday.

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