'It means everything': Indians honor Jackie

August 28th, 2020

CLEVELAND -- What does the name mean to Indians temporary manager Sandy Alomar Jr.?

“I’ll tell you what it means,” Alomar said. “Everything.”

The Puerto Rico native grew up listening to difficult stories from his father, Sandy Alomar Sr., who went through some tough times when he was playing baseball. Alomar Sr. played in 15 Major League seasons with six different teams. He was certain to share his experiences, and he explained the reason why he had the opportunity to play with Alomar Jr., who first made it to the big leagues in 1988.

“He always talked about Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby,” Alomar Jr. said, “the people that paved the way for the minority to play professional baseball and in the big leagues. It means everything. So, we are very proud that we can continue this tradition in honoring Jackie Robinson today.”

Major League Baseball chose to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day on Aug. 28 for two reasons. It’s the anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, which the Robinson Family attended, and it also is the date in 1945 when Robinson and Branch Rickey met to discuss his future as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In conjunction with the celebration, MLB announced a partnership extension with the JRF Scholarship Program, the Jackie Robinson Museum and the annual JRF ROBIE Awards. The extension is through 2023 and includes a $3.5 million commitment on behalf of MLB.

Every year, Jackie Robinson Day is celebrated on April 15, marking the anniversary of the day he broke the color barrier in 1947. But when the season had to be put on hold, the celebration was specifically moved to Aug. 28. Though there’s historical meaning to the date, no one could’ve predicted how fitting the timing of the event would be.

Over the last few days, professional athletes of many different sports have used their platforms to voice their opinions and spread awareness of the racial injustice that takes place around the country. Though some MLB games were postponed over the last two days to make a statement, Alomar Jr. said that there was importance of making sure Friday’s games would be played to honor the man who broke racial barriers in Major League Baseball.

And outfielder is hopeful that even more change, not just in sports but in everyday life, will continue to take place.

“I think we all understand that there needs to be some kind of change,” Allen said. “Something needs to be addressed. It's not something that can happen overnight. I can't sit here and tell you that I have all the answers. I don't think any one person can. I think it's going to take a collective effort. I think it's about getting to understand the people next to you regardless of gender, race, creed, age and any other type of predisposition and really understanding just that human, core level, the world that we live in.

“We're all in this together. And the only way this gets better is by relying on one another. So it's a tough time, but I definitely have hope, hope for our country, hope for the people even in today's world, even in this current generation, that we have the ability to effect change.”