LOS ANGELES — Baseball celebrated the seventy fifth anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson broke the main league shade barrier on Friday with an appreciation of his trailblazing life and an analysis of how a lot farther the game nonetheless should go.
Every participant, coach and umpire on a significant league subject wore Robinson’s No. 42, as they’ve since 2009 on each April 15 — now generally known as Jackie Robinson Day.
But for the primary time, everybody wore the numerals within the famed Dodger blue to focus on this milestone anniversary of the day Robinson first took the sphere with the Dodgers at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field in 1947.
Los Angeles Dodgers supervisor Dave Roberts believes the day is a vital automobile to boost consciousness and to proceed to form attitudes within the sport and past.
“Jackie was all about looking out and looking forward,” mentioned Roberts, who turned the second Black supervisor to win the World Series in 2020. “So to appreciate how far we’ve come is certainly fair, but more important is where we need to go. That’s what pushes and challenges all of us to keep getting better and to make change. … What Jackie did was incredible, but we’ve got to keep going.”
Four hours earlier than the Dodgers’ sport in opposition to Cincinnati, Roberts led his gamers out to the park behind the outfield bleachers at Dodger Stadium to the plaza the place a statue of Robinson has stood since 2017. The Dodgers gathered round and listened to remarks from Robinson’s son, David, who inspired everybody to take fixed inventory of the U.S.’ development on schooling and equality.
“Baseball, it’s bigger than us individually,” Roberts mentioned. “So we all have a platform, an opportunity, a responsibility, as David said today, which is great.”
In a pregame ceremony at Chavez Ravine, former main leaguers Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson greeted and honored Rachel Robinson, the 99-year-old widow of the baseball nice. Rachel Robinson waved and smiled on the crowd’s a number of hearty ovations.
The day is especially particular at Dodger Stadium, the place Robinson’s reminiscence by no means fades. Robinson grew up in Pasadena, 10 miles from the location of the Dodgers’ future residence, and the park is festooned along with his picture and iconography.
“Growing up in the Dodgers organization, we made sure we knew what he means,” mentioned Red Sox supervisor Alex Cora, who spent his first seven seasons with the Dodgers as a participant. “To be part of this, it’s a special day. I think they got it right, wearing Dodger blue for one day. … He changed the world, right? And we don’t live in a perfect world, still.
April 15 has become a day to reflect on Robinson’s legacy across the sport. Roberts and his fellow baseball leaders use Jackie Robinson Day to spotlight the perpetual fight toward equality for all races while embracing the sport’s importance in driving social change.
“It seems to get bigger and bigger as we go along, and rightly so,” San Diego supervisor Bob Melvin mentioned. “The ultimate trailblazer in this game, and everybody’s proud to wear that number beyond belief now. I think it educates people the more we do this, every year, understanding of what he went through and what he’s meant to this game. This has become one of the real, real special days in the course of the baseball season.”
“For him to do what he did, I can’t even think about. I can’t think about how he felt, how he went (by it). The incontrovertible fact that he persevered, he put us on this spot. We have a greater world due to Jackie Robinson, however we nonetheless have a variety of work to do.”
Roberts mentioned the work contains boosting the game amongst Black athletes. Both Roberts and Houston supervisor Dusty Baker decried the shrinking of the participant draft and the minor leagues, saying these cost-saving strikes lower alternatives for gamers of shade — like Roberts and Baker themselves, who had been each later-round draft picks a technology aside.
Baker has saved each Jackie Robinson Day jersey from his outstanding managing profession. He is disenchanted to see fewer Black gamers within the sport, though he is aware of many components contribute to the decline, not all race-related.
“You can go on one hand where before it was two or three hands,” Baker said of the paucity of star Black players. “It was a different time, a different era. Seems like things are actually more accepted then. We’ve made a lot of progress in some areas, and (in) other areas we haven’t made that much progress. So now we need to regress to have some progress. And we’ve already regressed to me enough, so it’s time for some progress.”
Before their residence opener at Citi Field, the Mets unveiled a long-awaited statue of Tom Seaver a couple of steps from the ornate Jackie Robinson Rotunda that serves because the ballpark’s major entrance. Robinson Canó, named for the previous Dodgers nice, homered in a 10-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Canó and teammate Francisco Lindor, who went deep from either side of the plate, wore particular cleats for Jackie Robinson Day.
“Always special. He’s one of the reasons that I’m here,” Lindor mentioned. “Courage, excellence and commitment to the game of baseball.”
Canó, who sat out final season whereas serving his second suspension for performance-enhancing medicine, was requested if it was particularly significant to attach on Jackie Robinson Day.
“For sure. This is the day that myself and everybody is always going to remember,” he mentioned. “You do something special on that day.”
The first 25,000 followers obtained a Brooklyn Dodgers Jackie Robinson T-shirt, and Jackie Robinson Foundation students went down the handshake line with Mets gamers on the sphere throughout pregame introductions. Robinson’s granddaughter did the identical, and pregame ceremonies included a recorded message from his son, David, and the seventy fifth anniversary emblem displayed on the massive video board in middle subject.
AP Sports Writers Mike Fitzpatrick, Kyle Hightower, Tim Booth and Bernie Wilson contributed to this report.