Baseball Celebrates the 70th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson

Posted April 16, 2017

There are seven other statues of Robinson, from Pasadena to Daytona Beach to Stamford, Conn., no other American athlete is thought to be so recognized more often. Today marks the 13th annual celebration of Robinson's historic debut with players around the game sporting his number 42 on their backs. I get to wear a pair of custom Jackie Robinson cleats by New Balance. The team will unveil his likeness during Jackie Robinson Day festivit. We watched the first games of Dwight Gooden when he joined the team the next year, and I called my dad from college when the Mets won the World Series a few years later.

Fittingly, Jackie Robinson is the first to be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium.

Robinson would play 10 seasons, mostly at second base. His debut for Branch Rickey's Brooklyn Dodgers paved the way for non-white ballplayers everywhere. Jackie's prominence in social history also garnered him the coveted Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1984 from President Ronald Reagan.

Robinson was also inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

The family shared numerous photos of Robinson with sculptor Branly Cadet of Oakland, California.

Robinson is the only major league baseball player to have his number, 42, which has been retired league wide. Currently MLB has players from 19 different countries and about 30% of the players were born outside of the United States. That is the lowest level since 1958. And this is all because of what Jackie was able to do on April 15, 1947.

Yet there was little question that the comments of the 70-year-old Campanis on "Nightline" reflected archaic stereotypes about the intelligence and capabilities of African-Americans. Now, both organizations are starting to see the fruits of their labor ripen as top draft prospects become more diverse. "There's still lots and lots of struggles in this world and it's a very complicated place. I have a Jackie Robison wall at my house, in my weight room, there's Jackie on his wall, along with me, so, it's just that I'm not that overly happy about it because I think we should do this every day instead of just one day a year". It was a time working- and middle-class men and woman of all ages, classes, races and religions commingled in the stands rooting for Jackie Robinson and his teammates, regardless of ethnic origin, game after game. It weights 700 pounds and is secured with a 150-pound steel rod. Now 94, widow Rachel Robinson is traveling from the East Coast to attend the unveiling along with daughter Sharon and son David.