It’s a big night in terms of celebration in Arlington. The Texas Rangers will be not only be honoring Jackie Robinson for Jackie Robinson Day, but they’ll also be commemorating their 50th Anniversary of the first ever game in Arlington.
75 years ago today on April 15, 1947 Jackie Robinson would break Major League Baseball’s color barrier.
Facing seemingly insurmountable pressure and constant torment, Robinson displayed character, skill, and incredible courage, thus changing the game and the landscape of our country forever. In honor of this, every player, coach, and umpire will don the number 42 as the yearly tip of the cap to Robinson’s greatness commences, except this year there is a few changes and more much deserved celebration in honor of the 75 year anniversary of his debut.
It was 25 years ago today, that Ken Griffey Jr. requested to wear number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day, and the request was granted and several players followed suit, thus creating the yearly league-wide wearing of 42. While tonight is no different, as the players, coaches, and umpires will wear number 42 like previous years, however the 42 will be in Dodger blue, regardless of the teams colors. Along with this, teams will have team color 42 patches on sleeves and caps.
That is not all though, while teams around the league are celebrating Jackie with various different displays of respect, the Rangers are putting on their own tributes in the honoring of Robinson.
Throwing out the first pitch tonight will be Opal Lee, who is often referred to as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth”, she is celebrated for her efforts in helping Juneteenth become a National Holiday. 95 year old Lee will be accompanied to the mound by former Rangers greats Al Oliver and Ferguson Jenkins.
To further the celebration the Rangers will also be hosting African-American leaders from surrounding communities, youth from the Rangers Foundation, and Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy Breaking Barriers Essay Contest participants. In addition, the Rangers will donate funds gained on April 15th from the Texas 2 Split Raffle to the Jackie Robinson Foundation and The Players Alliance, in honor of Jackie Robinson Day.
Jackie Robinson will, and should be forever remembered in the hearts and minds of baseball fans everywhere. Without Jackie’s sacrifice in paving the way, baseball may not be the game it is today. Thank you Jackie Robinson.
Texas Rangers’ 50th Anniversary Game
While the Rangers are also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first game in Texas, the Rangers once again play the Angels who were their first opponent ever. The Rangers lost their first ever game against the then California Angels 1-0, and look to start off the next 50 years with a win. Other Rangers greats are expected to make an appearance over the next few games as well, featuring names like Tom Grieve, Toby Harrah, Ferguson Jenkins, and Jim Sundberg, Al Oliver, Jeff Burroughs, and several others. Bosman, the former pitcher who started the first ever Rangers game on April 15, is expected to throw a first pitch also. Several of these players will be on hand for autographs as well.
Along with this tonight, the first 15,000 Rangers fans can get there hands on a Charlie Pride Rangers bobblehead. The late singer was a long time friend of the ball club and his son Dion will be singing the National Anthem.
So get on out to the ballpark and enjoy the well deserved celebrations of Jackie Robinson and the 50 year anniversary!