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Rachel Robinson makes guest appearance at Dodger Stadium

Rachel Robinson is three months shy of her 100th birthday. It has been 75 years since her husband, Jackie, played his first regular season game with the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking a ban on Black players that had persisted since the 19th century.

What he told her that morning – “I’ll be number 42, just in case you have trouble picking me out” – is cause for celebration every April 15, when every Major League Baseball player wears jersey No. 42 in Robinson’s honor.



Rachel Robinson took center stage for a moment Friday at Dodger Stadium, where she was feted in a pregame ceremony prior to the Dodgers’ game against the Cincinnati Reds. Retired players Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson presented her with a jacket courtesy of the nonprofit Players’ Alliance. Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts gave her a hug.

Continuing an April 15 tradition, the Dodgers’ players gathered around the Jackie Robinson statue before the game. David Robinson, Jackie and Rachel’s son, joined Manager Dave Roberts in discussing the historical significance of April 15, 1947 beyond baseball.

Roberts believes the day is an important vehicle to raise awareness and to continue to shape attitudes in the sport and beyond.

“Jackie was all about looking out and looking forward,” said Roberts, who became the second Black manager to win the World Series in 2020. “So to appreciate how far we’ve come is certainly fair, but more important is where we need to go. That’s what pushes and challenges all of us to keep getting better and to make change. … What Jackie did was incredible, but we’ve got to keep going.”

Robinson’s son encouraged everyone to take constant stock of the country’s progression on education and equality.

“Baseball, it’s bigger than us individually,” Roberts said. “So we all have a platform, an opportunity, a responsibility, as David said today, which is great.”

Jackie Robinson Day has always been particularly special at Dodger Stadium, where Robinson’s memory never fades. Robinson grew up in Pasadena and starred in multiple sports at UCLA, and Dodger Stadium is festooned with his image and iconography.

News services contributed to this report.

Source: Orange County Register

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