On the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, the Texas Rangers and MLB are set to honor baseball pioneer and legend, Jackie Robinson.
Amidst much of the sports world pushing to shine a light on the issue of race and equality in the United States, the Texas Rangers and the remainder of the MLB are set to honor baseball pioneer and legend, Jackie Robinson on Friday, August 28. An annual day of recognition usually occurring in April, this year’s Jackie Robinson Day has been shifted due to the truncated season and now coincides with the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Jackie Robinson is a hero to the game of baseball becoming the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball. The long-time second baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson had a stellar 10-year Major League career in which he hit .311 and was a six-time All-Star. In his third season with the Dodgers, Robinson was named NL MVP and in his history-making rookie year, he was the Rookie of the Year.
Robinson served in the military from 1942-1944 where he served as second lieutenant in the US Army prior to his arrival in the MLB and also played a single season for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues. In his post-playing career, in which he helped the Brooklyn Dodgers win a World Series, Robinson continued to expand the game of baseball and the pushed for furthering opportunities for people of color within the game. Robinson served as the first African-American TV analyst for the MLB and also acted as an advocate for more African-American representation in the Major Leagues, going beyond players but into coaching and front office personnel.
Beyond Robinson’s accomplishments on the baseball field, he was an influential individual in expanding the game of baseball and helped contribute to the civil rights movement. He was active in politics contributing time and effort to the causes of those he felt were pushing forward the initiative for civil rights and equality in the country. He helped create opportunities for African-American business owners and worked to serve those within the community.
On April 15, 1997, the number 42, worn by Jackie Robinson throughout his career, was retired league-wide and on the same date in 2004, Major League Baseball began honoring the legend with Jackie Robinson Day. Since 2009, all players across the league have donned Robinson’s ’42’ in remembrance of the hero to the game and as recognition of the work that still needs to be done in baseball to make it a game for all.
For those looking to learn more about racial equality and its impact on the current clubhouse for the Texas Rangers, Levi Weaver of The Athletic has an excellent piece out on Friday ($) that includes his conversation with Texas Rangers’ third base coach Tony Beasley. Additionally, MLB.com has a story out today on Robinson’s legacy and continuing impact in today’s game.