Jackie Robinson Day – April 15, 2013
Los Angeles and Dodger Stadium were the center of Major League Baseball’s celebration of the man who broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947. On April 15 to begin the day, Matt Kemp, Dodger Alumnus Tommy Davis and Sharon Robinson, Jackie’s daughter, author, MLB Educational Programming Consultant adn Vice Chair of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, visited the students of Wsashington Middle School in Pasadena. Jackie Robinson attended Washington Middle (formerly Washington Junior High School) as a young man. Sharon discussed her new book Jackie Robinson: American Hero, and the Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life program. The school participated in a special Breaking Barriers essay contest and one student was presented a special gift by Sharon Robison.
Later that evening of April 15 at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers hosted Hollywood stars, sports royalty, key African American business, community and civic leaders, and most significantly the family of Jackie Robinson. No person represented the day better than Robinson’s wife, Rachel Robinson. The Dodgers also hosted a pregame reception on the Loge Terrace for fans who purchased a specially priced $42 dollar ticket. Dodger Alumni greeted fans at the reception and Dodger Owner Earvin “Magic” Johnson joined in to say a few words about Jackie and conducted a raffle for the fans.
Pregame ceremonies for the significant day included recognizing two members of the Tuskeegee Airmen as the Veterans of the Game; the choir of the West Los Angeles Church of God in Christ sang the national anthem; fans welcomed Rachel and Sharon Robinson, Dodgers Special Advisor to the Chairman Don Newcombe, son and daugher of Roy Campanella, Joni Campanella Roan and John Campanella; and Harrison Ford who plays Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey in “42” threw out the ceremonial first pitch. In the seventh inning, Kelly Jakle, the great granddaughter of Branch Rickey sang God Bless America.
Finally, all 30 Major League Baseball players wore the number 42 as a most important tribute to Jackie Robinson.