Jackie Robinson Day

Happy Jackie Robinson Day to all of the baseball fans in the blog-o-sphere! Since this post was repackaged from 2015, I should point out that today marks the 72nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the “colour barrier.”

Here’s a little bit of history about this day, from MLB.com:

“Today marks the 69th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier, and once again, MLB and each of its 30 clubs are pulling out all the stops to celebrate the Hall of Famer’s legacy.

On Jackie Robinson Day, all players and on-field personnel across the league will don No. 42 jerseys, as they have done each April 15 since 2009. The number is otherwise retired throughout baseball in honor of the former Dodgers great, who signed his first professional contract with the organization — then in Brooklyn — in 1945. Two years later, on April 15, he started for the Dodgers against the Boston Braves at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, batting second and playing first base. That was the start of a highly productive 10-year career for Robinson, who was already 28 when he broke the color barrier. He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1947, the NL Most Valuable Player Award winner and batting champion two years later, and he made six All-Star teams while posting a career average of .311.

Robinson, who died in 1972, also will be honored by MLB with an increased financial commitment to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, as well as special on-field, pregame ceremonies in each ballpark hosting a game today. That includes at Dodger Stadium, where Rachel and Sharon Robinson, the wife and daughter of Jackie, will be guests for the game against the Giants, along with Hall of Famer Frank Robinson and Dodgers special advisor Don Newcombe, who played with Jackie in Brooklyn. They will watch Dave Roberts, the first minority manager in Dodgers history, guide his club against San Francisco. “I think I’m going to make a conscious effort tomorrow to really understand and take in the scope and magnitude,” Roberts said Thursday. “It’s a big deal. Jackie’s obviously impacted me and many others, so I want to take some extra time to reflect for sure.” For the players on the field, wearing No. 42 is a valued opportunity to show their appreciation for the doors Robinson opened for future generations.”

Jackie Robinson isn’t the only gentleman who had to deal with the ills of segregation and discrimination during the integration of professional sports in this country, but he is the most well-known in the sport of baseball. Professional sports in this country didn’t even integrate at the same time. For that matter, each sport had various teams which were far slower to do so than others. Such is the history of this country; it permeates every aspect of American life. The things that Jackie Robinson addressed and fought against are still prevalent today. Racism didn’t end with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation any more than slavery did.

Jackie Robinson’s legacy is phenomenal and can be seen on every baseball diamond across this country and around the world. Kudos to you, Jackie. You are in the pantheon of the greats.

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