The Los Angeles Dodgers will join the rest of Major League Baseball in celebrating Jackie Robinson Day Friday night with his widow, Rachel and daughter Sharon participating in a pregame ceremony.
The ceremony will also include 11 Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars and alumni and previous regional winners of the “Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life” essay contest, which is run by Major League Baseball, Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, and Sharon Robinson.
Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, Major League Baseball’s first black manager, Dodgers part-owner Magic Johnson and Robinson’s teammate, Don Newcombe, now a Dodgers special adviser, will join the Robinsons as the team’s guests of honor as the 69th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s breaking baseball’s color line is marked at the game against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium.
The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Danny Bakewell Sr., the executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and the L.A. Watts Times, chairman of the Brotherhood Crusade and chairman of The Bakewell Co.
Since 2004, Major League Baseball has annually marked the anniversary of Robinson’s breaking baseball’s color line by holding Jackie Robinson Day.
This will be the eighth consecutive year that all on-field personnel will wear Robinson’s number, 42, on Jackie Robinson Day. The number 42 was retired throughout Major League Baseball in 1997, on the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s April 15, 1947 debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Jackie Robinson Day jeweled bases and lineup cards will also be part of the on-field commemoration.
The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive an adult replica Jackie Robinson jersey.
The baseball and softball teams from John Muir High School in Pasadena, Jackie Robinson’s alma mater, will be in attendance courtesy of the Dodgers’ Kids 4 Dodgers Baseball program.
Robinson went hitless in four at-bats in his major league debut, but scored what proved to be the winning run in the Brooklyn Dodgers’ 5-3 victory over the Boston Braves in front of a crowd announced at 25,623 at Ebbets Field.
Robinson played his entire major league career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, helping lead them to six National League titles during his 10 seasons, and, in 1955, their only World Series championship in Brooklyn.
Robinson’s successful integration of Major League Baseball is credited with helping change Americans’ attitudes toward blacks and being a catalyst toward later civil rights advances.
—City News Service
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