Jackie Robinson Day being celebrated across MLB

April 15th, 2023

Fifty years after his death,  is still making an impact on baseball and on society. That impact will be celebrated across the sport on Saturday.

In 2023, Jackie Robinson Day is not just an acknowledgement of Robinson’s historic debut with the Dodgers 76 years ago but also a salute to the 50th anniversary of the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF), which was founded by Jackie’s widow, Rachel, in honor of his life and his mission just a few months after he passed away in October 1972.

“I am thrilled to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Jackie Robinson Foundation along with the first year of our new Jackie Robinson Museum,” the 100-year-old Rachel Robinson said in a statement. “I thank Major League Baseball, the teams, players and fans for celebrating this legacy on Saturday and throughout the year. On behalf of our family, I want to wish everyone a truly wonderful Jackie Robinson Day.”

The Jackie Robinson Museum opened in New York City last year, after more than 14 years of planning and construction. It highlights both Robinson’s work in baseball and in the civil rights movement. JRF – a national non-profit that provides scholarships to minority youth for higher education – ensures that work of leveling the playing field continues to this day.

Here's a rundown of how and where the man who broke the color barrier will be celebrated on Jackie Robinson Day, which has been held each year in MLB since 2004.

Across the Majors

As has become tradition in MLB, all players, managers and coaches will be wearing Robinson’s No. 42 for Saturday’s games, with all teams using Dodger blue jersey numbers, regardless of their primary team colors.

There will also be a “42” side patch on all New Era caps worn that day, with Nike Breaking Barriers T-shirts worn during batting practice. Stance socks will feature a commemorative “42” logo, and commemorative base jewels and lineup cards will be used for each game.


MLB Network’s “MLB Tonight” program will broadcast live from the Jackie Robinson Museum for the first time on Friday at 6 p.m. ET, with host Harold Reynolds joined by special guests, including NBA great Charles Barkley, actor Chris Jackson from “Hamilton,” Negro Leagues historian Larry Lester, JRF president and CEO Della Britton and Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Costas to discuss Robinson’s everlasting legacy. The show will also include a taped tour of the museum with the Twins’ Byron Buxton and Nick Gordon.

The MLB “The Show” video game will continue the incorporation of Robinson into its Negro Leagues storytelling content as launched during Black History Month. Sony will once again sell a charity pack for $5, with proceeds of every copy going to JRF.

Youth baseball and softball

At the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Fla., MLB and USA Baseball will host the 2023 Trailblazer Series, an annual youth baseball experience for young women aged 13 and under from across the country. Sonya Pankey, the first grandchild of Jackie and Rachel Robinson, will attend to observe the event and speak to the athletes. A special Play Ball event will also be held at the Training Complex, featuring hundreds of children from throughout the area.

In Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday and in Anderson, S.C., on Sunday, ID Tour events will be held. The ID Tour, which will reach 18 cities in all this year, identifies Black and Latino baseball talent in grades 8-10 within underserved communities across the country, with the goal of inviting them to future developmental programs such as the Breakthrough Series, DREAM Series or Hank Aaron Invitational.

Panel discussion

In conjunction with the recent online release of “New Wave: Baseball’s Next Generation,” a panel discussion that took place earlier in the week at the Jackie Robinson Museum will be streamed on MLB.com Saturday at 10:30 a.m. ET.

“New Wave” is a two-part digital series launched by SpringHill Company/UNINTERRUPTED, Grapefruit Tree Media and MLB. It follows four high school baseball players – Termarr Johnson, Jayson Jones, RJ Austin and Justin Crawford – during the events leading up to the 2022 amateur Draft and the life-changing decisions the young athletes had to make. It was directed by former Minor League catcher Matt Paré and executive produced by LeBron James, Maverick Carter, CC Sabathia, Amber Sabathia and Nick Trotta and produced by Paré and Jackson New-Smith, in association with MLB.

The panel discussion features Commissioner Rob Manfred, the aforementioned Sonya Pankey, Sabathia and SpringHill Company president Devin Johnson in an in-depth conversation about baseball’s next generation of Black trailblazers.

Printable education activities aimed at providing kids information on Jackie’s life and legacy are available at MLB.com/42.

JRF Scholars at MLB parks

Many current JRF scholars and alumni will be recognized by the clubs and MLB.com this weekend. In 2020, MLB expanded its partnership with JRF to include greater investment in the JRF scholarship program and greater coordination on MLB and club internships, full-time job opportunities and exposure to MLB careers. MLB has set aside summer internship slots specifically for JRF scholars. The $3.5 million commitment to JRF also includes support for the Jackie Robinson Museum. Historically, MLB and its clubs have contributed about $20 million to JRF, including college scholarships for more than 150 JRF scholars.

Capital One commitment

Capital One, the official bank and credit card partner of MLB, has pledged $1,000 to JRF for each “Capital One Walk-Off” (game-winning play) this year, committing to a minimum total donation of $250,000.

Club activations

Every MLB team – home and away – will have or has had some recognition of Jackie Robinson Day.

Earlier this week, for example, Guardians players Triston McKenzie and Steven Kwan visited eighth graders at Valley View Boys Leadership Academy in Cleveland to present them with commemorative Jackie Robinson Guardians jerseys and discuss his lasting importance. The D-backs will host a teen movie night on Friday at the Diamondbacks Branch Teen Center, with a screening of the film “42” and a panel discussion featuring former pitcher Edwin Jackson of The Players Alliance. The Cubs will fly “42” flags around the Wrigley Field marquee from April 15-20 and include both the Black national anthem and the national anthem in pregame festivities before their next home game on April 20.

Among teams hosting games on Saturday, the Braves will host 55 children and chaperones from the Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club in Cairo, Ga., the birthplace of Robinson. The Reds will hand out Jackie Robinson baseball cards to those in attendance at Great American Ball Park, and the Mariners, Tigers and Cardinals will hand out Robinson-themed hats.

The club-hosted community events in association with Jackie Robinson Day are, frankly, too many to be listed here. But of course, the Dodgers always take center stage on this day.

Bank of America’s “Play It Forward” baseball clinic at Jesse Owens Park in South L.A. will feature current Dodgers pitcher Andre Jackson and former Dodgers Andre Ethier, James Loney and Jerry Hairston Jr. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will hold a brief reflection with the entire team near the Jackie Robinson statue before Saturday’s game against the Cubs, with several guests scheduled to speak, including Jackie’s granddaughter Ayo Robinson and several JRF scholars. All fans in attendance will receive a retro Jackie Robinson jersey, sponsored by UCLA Health, and 50 scholars and alumni from JRF will circle the “42” in the outfield to celebrate the foundation’s 50th anniversary.