Sixty-four years ago today, Jackie Robinson did something that would forever change the world of professional sports. Stepping on to the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. His ability persevere and perform under incredibly difficult circumstances eventually opened the door for a number of baseball greats such as Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Ernie Banks. In honor of Robinson, Major League Baseball retired his number league-wide and declared April 15 as Jackie Robinson Day. After postponing Jackie Robinson Day last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players around the league will don the Robinson's number as they take the field in cities across the country. Adding to the celebration, a number of players wrote open letters in which they marveled at the legacy that he left in baseball.
"As a young boy I heard your name and stories of your courage. At first, I didn’t truly understand the magnitude of what you had truly been through, and strength that you had displayed. But as I grow older and more of your story has been revealed I just want to say," Justin Dunn of the Seattle Mariners wrote.
"Wearing 42 today is a step in the right direction. It signifies equality and it signifies meaning as a Black man in this game being able to live the childhood dream. To see where we came from and how far we’ve come since, it’s truly a blessing," Tommy Pham of the San Diego Padres added.
Robinson's legacy is just not limited to April 15, 1947. He was also a great ball player. Robinson was a six-time MLB All-Star, 1947 MLB Rookie of the Year, 1949 MLB MVP and a 1955 World Series Champion. His impact on the game and his skill on the field earned induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
To this day, Robinson's legacy lives on through several initiatives including the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Over the years, the foundation has helped a number of trailblazers through college including New York Giants Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood and Marvel Cinematic Universe Producer Nate Moore. Not to mention, Black Information Network Associate Editor Ryan Shepard is also a graduate of the foundation.
From the field to the streets, Robinson's foundation lives on forever.
Photo Credit: Getty Images