LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Los Angeles Dodgers will join the rest of Major League Baseball in marking today’s 72nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color line.
Robinson’s widow Rachel, daughter Sharon and son David will throw a ceremonial first pitch before the game at Dodger Stadium against the Cincinnati Reds.
Pregame ceremonies will also include a performance by singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc and an appearance by 14-time Grammy-winning musician Herbie Hancock.
The Dodgers will also recognize 42 current and former Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars (six of whom are current Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation scholars), while students from Robinson’s elementary, middle and high schools — Pasadena’s Cleveland Elementary School, Washington Middle School and John Muir High School — will be recognized with pregame honors.
The foundation was founded by Rachel Robinson in 1973, the year following Jackie Robinson’s death at the age of 53. It provides four-year college scholarships to disadvantaged students of color.
Major League Baseball has marked the anniversary of Robinson’s breaking baseball’s color line by holding Jackie Robinson Day each year since 2004.
For the 11th consecutive year, all players and other on-field personnel will wear Robinson’s No. 42. 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.
A commemorative sleeve patch will be added to uniforms this season with a matching insignia on all on-field caps. Players, managers and coaches will also have the option to wear a “Jackie Robinson 100” T-shirt during batting practice marking 2019 being the 100th anniversary of Robinson’s birth and socks with an emblazoned “42” logo.
The Jackie Robinson Day logo will be included on base jewels and official dugout lineup cards.
The first 40,000 ticketed fans in attendance will receive a Jackie Robinson Day jersey.
Robinson went hitless in four at-bats in his major league debut, but scored what proved to be the winning run in Brooklyn’s 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.
“I’ve often said that baseball’s proudest moment and its most powerful social statement came when Jackie Robinson first set foot on a Major League Baseball field,” then-MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said in 2004 in connection with Major League Baseball’s first leaguewide Jackie Robinson Day.