Courtesy of MLB via AP
As the MLB lockdown began to threaten the early part of the 2022 schedule, one of the biggest concerns was the celebration of Jackie Robinson Day, which takes place every April 15 to honor the legacy of the man who broke the league color barrier.
Each year, MLB players wear the number 42 in memory of Robinson, who played the first Hall of Fame game of his career on April 15, 1947. This year’s event had added significance as 75th anniversary of its groundbreaking achievement.
The league and Players Association reached agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement after 99 days, which saw Jackie Robinson Day return to center stage on Friday.
Former President Barack Obama paid tribute to Robinson, who died in 1972:
barack obama @barack obama
On the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson Day, we remember her groundbreaking career and legacy that paved the way for so many who would follow, including me. pic.twitter.com/U4CHJN2WNG
Longtime MLB outfielder Doug Glanvillewho now works as an ESPN analyst, explained the importance of ensuring Robinson’s story continues to be passed on to future generations.
“It’s one of the greatest American stories of all time, but like any story, over time it can fade,” Granville wrote in a Friday post. “A big step in keeping it alive is sharing it with children young enough to be its great-great-grandchildren.”
The league teamed up with New York, where Robinson played his entire MLB career as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, to kick off the celebration Friday morning by renaming 42nd Street Jackie Robinson Way for the day:
The New York Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks, who played the first game of the day, both showed off their jerseys for the occasion:
All Friday uniforms featured No. 42 in Dodger Blue, regardless of the team’s color scheme, as a special tribute to the 75th anniversary.
Here’s a look at some of Robinson’s other celebrations and memorabilia from MLB, the sports world and the internet:
Hunter Greene @HunterGreene17
Good day Jackie Robinson ✊🏾 I need a ROLL CALL! All African American boys and girls across the United States, I’m calling on you and your leagues to flood my account today showing your faces or your team photo (no video please ). Show that you exist and that you want to play baseball! pic.twitter.com/NJBFXjCAGC
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the MLB color barrier, ESPN is releasing “Jackie 75” in honor of Robinson’s legacy.
Naismith Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson reflects on Robinson’s impact on his NBA career. #BlackHistoryAlways
MLB game day @TheGameDayMLB
It’s only fitting that Marcus Stroman gets the nod for Jackie Robinson Day. Take a look at his legend tattoo 😮 pic.twitter.com/xp2DnjBWYH
Cincinnati Reds @Reds
April 15, 2007: Ken Griffey Jr. dons No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson after receiving consent from then-commissioner Bud Selig and Robinson’s widow, Rachel. Selig then encourages all players to join in the tribute. #Jackie42 #RedsVault
Robinson won MLB Rookie of the Year in 1947 and National League MVP awards in 1949, and he earned six All-Star selections during a decorated career that also included championship capture. of the 1955 World Series with the Dodgers.
The Georgia native, who served in the U.S. military before his baseball career, continued to champion racial equality after his playing career ended in 1956.
He gave a speech before throwing out the first pitch in Game 2 of the 1972 World Series, less than two weeks before he died of a heart attack at the age of 53.
“I am extremely proud and happy to be here this afternoon, but I have to admit that I will be enormously happier and prouder if I ever watch this third line of base coaches and see a black face handle in baseball”, Robinson
In 1975, Cleveland hired Frank Robinson as MLB’s first black manager. But nearly five decades later, the 2022 season opened with just two black managers: Dusty Baker of the Houston Astros and Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
This underscores the need for continued work to honor Jackie Robinson’s legacy in the years to come.