How MLB is celebrating the life of Jackie Robinson

April 14th, 2024

Every year, April 15 is a special day in baseball as Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day.

As you might recall from prior years, every MLB player wears No. 42 on this day, a tradition that has existed since 2009. MLB retired the jersey number universally in 1997 -- 50 years after Robinson’s MLB debut -- but players who were already wearing the number were exempted, with Mariano Rivera notably being the last player to sport the number.

But the festivities of Jackie Robinson Day go far beyond what the players on the field happen to be wearing. And this year, 77 years after Robinson first took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers to break MLB’s color barrier, the league has some thoughtful commemorations in store.

For starters, Robinson will receive a special tribute on scoreboards across the nation. A video titled “Pasadena Fields” will air in honor of Robinson at all ballparks, along with being available on platforms such as and MLB.TV.

But the main theme of the event will be MLB’s significant efforts to make a positive impact on children. On April 15, MLB will host a volunteer event at the Jackie Robinson Museum in New York, in conjunction with a company called Foster Love that is dedicated to improving the lives of children in foster care. A group of volunteers who work in MLB’s local office will assemble superhero gift boxes and cases of sweets that will be donated to foster care children. The Jackie Robinson Museum also hosted Nike RBI Day on Saturday, during which participants of Nike’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) programs and their families visited the museum to learn about Robinson’s legacy.

On a similar note, though this isn’t specific to April 15, MLB will be continuing its longstanding partnership with the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF), a group established by Jackie’s wife, Rachel, to provide students from under-represented communities with college scholarships. MLB and the JRF have partnered on various internship and full-time job opportunities, and MLB and its clubs are estimated to have donated approximately $20 million to the JRF.

And of course, when it comes to helping the youth, some actual baseball is going to be involved, too. This weekend, at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Fla., MLB and USA Baseball is collaborating to host the 2024 Trailblazer Series. This tournament was created in 2017 to provide playing, development and educational opportunities to girls aged 13 and younger who want to learn baseball. Sonya Pankey, the first grandchild of Jackie and Rachel Robinson, will be speaking at the event.

The guys will get their chance to shine on the field too, though, thanks to MLB’s ongoing 18-city MLB ID Tour. This tour was established with the purpose of discovering the best athletes within underserved communities across the country, with such athletes having the opportunity to eventually be invited to baseball development programs such as the Breakthrough Series, DREAM Series and Hank Aaron Invitational. The MLB ID Tour was in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday, and will be in Anderson, S.C., on Sunday.

And, finally, some other companies that are partners with MLB will find ways to contribute as well. Capital One has committed more than $1 million to the JR Foundation thus far, and it will be donating an extra $1,000 for each “Capital One Walk-Off” play in MLB this season. Likewise, the award-winning video game franchise MLB: The Show will continue to support Robinson’s legacy, as Sony Interactive Entertainment and San Diego Studio will once again sell a “Jackie Robinson Foundation Pack” that is meant to support the JRF by helping reduce the achievement gap in higher education.

When all is said and done, the baseball world will be treated to far more than strictly the 15 MLB games on the diamond on Monday. Even more than three-quarters of a century after his Dodgers debut, it’s evident that Robinson’s impact on all facets of America’s national pastime is as strong as it’s ever been.