The Los Angeles Dodgers and many others are celebrating the legacy of Jackie Robinson on Friday.
The team, along with all of Major League Baseball, will honor the icon and pioneer on the 75th anniversary of him breaking baseball’s color barrier to become the first Black player to play in the bigs in the modern era.
As is tradition on April 15 in the MLB, every player and manager on every team across the league will wear No. 42 in honor of Robinson. Each jersey will also sport a ’42’ patch in Dodger Blue, regardless of team colors.
Born in 1919 in Georgia, Robinson was both a Civil Rights icon and an American sports hero. Primarily knowns as a second baseman, Robinson spent the majority of his storied career for the then-Brooklyn Dodgers franchise, winning Major League Baseball’s Rookie of the Year award in 1947 and the Most Valuable Player award in 1949 en route to permanent enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
His most lasting impact on both the sports world and American history came his rookie season in 1947 when he became the first Black player to play in the Majors since the league segregated more than 50 years earlier.
Despite the bulk of his career being played in New York, the Robinson family has deep ties to Southern California. Robinson attended high school in Pasadena and was a standout athlete at UCLA. In 1958, Robinson’s Brooklyn Dodgers relocated to Los Angeles and have called the city home ever since.
Robinson is being honored Friday at various locations across Los Angeles County that shaped and strengthened him and lead him on his path to inspire others.
Robinson’s family, including wife Rachel and son David, joined in on the celebration as they attended events being held across the city of Los Angeles.
The Dodgers and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation started the festivities at Longfellow Elementary School in Pasadena and launched a new reading series named for the Hall-of-Famer. Dodgers pitcher David Price was in attendance alongside the Robinson family, other legends of the game and State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond. Robinson’s son read from “I Am Jackie Robinson,” a children’s book about the legendary ballplayer written by Brad Meltzer. Each student received a copy of the book.
The Robinsons then traveled to Robinson’s former high school, John Muir High School, to meet multi-time All Star and former AL MVP Mookie Betts. Robinson attended Muir High School in the 1930s and his legacy will be permanently enshrined during a special unveiling Friday. Kids who attend both events will receive a Jackie Robinson baseball cap, organizers said.
The action-packed day of events will culminate with a matchup between the Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium at 7:10 p.m. The first 40,000 in attendance will receive a No. 42 Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers gray road jersey, presented by UCLA Health.
Robinson attended UCLA and was the first athlete in the history of the university to letter in all four major sports in the same year, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Those who can’t attend the game or miss out on the jersey giveaway can still purchase Jackie Robinson memorabilia. New Era baseball caps that feature the No. 42 patch will be available to buy and proceeds will be donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation will also begin a three-month fundraising effort on Friday to raise money to support scholarships through the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Fans can donate by texting JACKIE42 to 41623. Game-worn jerseys from Friday’s game will also be auctioned off in June as part of the fundraiser.
To purchase tickets to Friday’s game, visit dodgers.com/tickets.
Robinson died on Oct. 24, 1972, ten years after he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He helped lead the Dodgers to a World Series victory in 1955 and retired with a .313 batting average, 972 runs scored, 1,563 hits and 200 stolen bases.