Sunday is the first full day baseball fans can view a new statue of Jackie Robinson at Dodger Stadium.
A glittering cast of baseball dignitaries graced Dodger Stadium Saturday to mark the unveiling of a statue of Jackie Robinson on the 70th anniversary of Robinson’s debut with the team, when he became the first black player in Major League Baseball history.
On hand for the ceremony were Robinson’s 90-year-old widow Rachel, his children Sharon and David, Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson, legendary former Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (no relation) — who became the first black man to manage a Major League team in 1975 — and some of Jackie Robinson’s old Brooklyn Dodgers teammates, including Hall of Famer Don Newcombe.
The life-size statue, which sits in the left field reserve area, is the first statue honoring a former player in the history of Dodger Stadium. It was sculpted by Branly Cadet.
“It was my intention to create a sculpture that captured Jackie’s courage and dynamism both on the field and — metaphorically at least — off the field,” Cadet said at Saturday’s ceremony.
This will also be the ninth consecutive year that all on-field MLB 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.
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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