Manny P. here…
“`He was the first black man to play in baseball’s Major Leagues, ending six decades of racial segregation, and a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Fittingly, Jackie Robinson will be the first player to be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium. It will be unveiled later today, on the 70th anniversary of his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
“`Two years ago, on Jackie Robinson Day, owner and chairman Mark Walter suggested that a sculpture belonged at Dodger Stadium of the six-time All-Star second baseman, who starred when the team was in Brooklyn.
“`The 77-inch tall bronze statue depicts Robinson as a rookie, in 1947, sliding into home plate, a nod to aggressive base running. It weighs 700 pounds, and it is secured with a steel rod. On the statue’s granite base are three quotes, chosen by Jackie’s family, including his wife Rachel’s favorite: A life isn’t important, except in the impact it has on other lives. Placed in the left field reserve plaza, the statue has sweeping views of Downtown, Los Angeles in one direction, and Elysian Park in the other.
“`Now 94, Rachel Robinson is traveling from the East Coast to attend the unveiling, along with her daughter Sharon and son David. Also invited, are members of Jackie’s extended family, many from his late brother Mack’s side, who reside in nearby Pasadena. That’s where the Georgia-born Jackie grew up, and became a four-sport star in football, basketball, baseball, and track at John Muir High. He also played at Pasadena City College, before heading to UCLA.
“`Iconic names in Dodgers’ history will be on hand: Pitching greats, Sandy Koufax and Don Newcombe, who were Robinson’s teammates when the Dodgers won the 1955 World Series; retired broadcaster Vin Scully; and Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda. Also, Frank Robinson, a Hall of Fame player, and the first black to manage in the Majors; Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson; and team president and CEO Stan Kasten. The first 40,000 fans at Saturday’s game against Arizona receive a replica of the statue.
“`Robinson’s statue at the ballpark is his eighth, most of any American athlete. Since 2004, baseball has honored Robinson’s barrier-breaking career every April; the one day players on every team wears his retired No. 42 jersey.
“`What a great day to be a fan of the Dodgers!
Until next time> “never forget”