Jackie Robinson didn't choose baseball. Baseball chose him -- and in more ways than the mere fact that Brooklyn Dodgers President Branch Rickey plucked Robinson from obscurity in the mid-'40s, making him the first African American major league baseball player.
Robinson tried his hand at several sports before eventually stumbling upon an opportunity to play pro baseball.
Robinson met a former player for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League as his military tour was coming to an end. (After he refused to sit at the back of an Army bus, Robinson was transferred to Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, where he became an athletics coach. Shortly thereafter he was honorably discharged.) Robinson was convinced by the former pro athlete to try out and wrote to Monarchs' co-owner Thomas Baird. A few months later, in early 1945, Robinson accepted a contract, paying him $400 per month -- a good amount of money for him at that time.