JACKIE ROBINSON DAY
April 15th. means something very special to me every year. Today is no exception. This date emphasizes the legacy of Jackie Robinson. Everyone is reminded of how this great man changed history on April 15, 1947, his first day in the major leagues some 63 years ago as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Jackie was the first black man to play major league baseball. On this date each year, all major league players, managers and coaches wear his legendary #42 on the back of their uniforms. The respect major league baseball pays Jackie was richly earned by what he had to endure to accomplish what he did those many years ago. I would also like to feel that major league baseball is also recognizing Rachel Robinson, Jackieís extraordinary wife, by this uniform gesture as Rachel had to live with and tolerate the same abuse shown her husband, and had to be his support base through it all. One can only imagine what they went through!
At various points today, I watched some games being played. I actually paid little attention to the games themselves. I was quite moved by the fact that all those #42s were on the screen in honor of the man who has meant so much to me since I was a young boy, and I loved it. And after I post this article to my website shortly, Iím going to watch the Dodgers game tonight and hear the incomparable Vin Scully pay his tribute to Jackie as I'm certain he will.
For more about Jackie, Rachel and the Jackie Robinson Foundation, simply scroll the Access the Articles page of my website to find all you want to know on those subjects as I've written about them in various articles down through the years. The best books on the subject are Jackie's biography written by Arnold Rampersad, and the biography, Jackie Robinson, An Intimate Portrait, written by Rachel, a copy of which was gifted and personalized to me by Rachel on my last visit to New York and the Foundation in 2007. That book is, to be sure, a prized possession.
Here's to #42 on his day......and every day.