Dodgers, MLB, celebrate Jackie Robinson Day
LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Dodgers will join the rest of Major League Baseball in marking Saturday's 76th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color line, with Robinson's granddaughter Ayo Robinson throwing the ceremonial first pitch.
Manager Dave Roberts and outfielder Jason Heyward are scheduled to speak at what is being described as a "team reflection" at the Jackie Robinson statue in the Centerfield Plaza before the stadium gates open.
All players and other on-field personnel will wear Robinson's No. 42 for all of Saturday's major league games as they have done on each Jackie Robinson Day since 2009, with all teams using Dodger blue for their "42" jersey numbers regardless of their primary team colors for the second consecutive year.
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All players, coaches, managers and umpires will wear caps with a "42" side patch.
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.
Pitcher Clayton Kershaw and outfielder Mookie Betts will be among the more than 200 players and coaches wearing The Players Alliance Jackie Robinson T-shirt and black wristband showcasing his nine values — courage, determination, commitment, persistence, integrity, justice, teamwork, citizenship and excellence.
The Players Alliance was formed by active and retired professional baseball players. It describes its mission as seeking to "address baseball's systemic barriers to equity and inclusion by creating pathways to opportunities on and off the field for an undeniable pipeline of Black talent."
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"Our supporters reflect every racial, religious and professional level found in the sport and they are committed to upholding Jackie's legacy by breaking today's barriers," said former Dodgers outfielder Curtis Granderson, The Players Alliance board chair.
An online auction of former Dodgers pitcher David Price's 2020 World Series ring conducted by the Los Angeles Dodgers foundation will run through Wednesday with all proceeds benefiting The Players Alliance. Bids can be made by clicking here.
Fifty scholars and alumni from the Jackie Robinson Foundation will be honored on the field at Dodger Stadium to commemorate the organization's 50th anniversary by circling the "42" in the outfield. The scholars and alumni will also collectively say "It's time for Dodger baseball" just before the first pitch preceding the game against the Chicago Cubs.
Robinson's widow Rachel Robinson founded the foundation in 1973, the year following her husband's death at the age of 53. It provides four-year college scholarships to disadvantaged students of color.
The national anthem will be sung by the John Muir High School Early College Magnet Choir. Robinson graduated from the high school in Pasadena.
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.