Saturday marks the 76th anniversary of Jackie Robinson becoming the first Black player to break the color barrier and play Major Leagues Baseball.
His skills on the diamond made him one of the best to ever play the game. Robinson had dazzling speed, stellar defense and a bat that helped the Brooklyn Dodgers win six pennants and one World Series title during his 10 years in The Show. His impact was felt right away, as evidenced by his 1947 National League Rookie of the Year Award and his NL Most Valuable Player Award just two years later.
To pay tribute to the historic day, Major League Baseball, in coordination with the Robinson Family, MLB Clubs and various partners, has announced baseball’s efforts to celebrate the legacy of Robinson and the 50th anniversary of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, a living legacy to both Jackie and Rachel Robinson, on Jackie Robinson Day.
Robinson’s importance to the sport of baseball and society will be celebrated by every Major League club. For example, at Dodger Stadium, all fans in attendance will take home a retro Jackie Robinson jersey, sponsored by UCLA Health, and enjoy a slew of celebratory pregame ceremonies ahead of the 6:10 p.m. PT start. Fifty scholars and alumni from the Jackie Robinson Foundation will be honored on the field to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the organization by circling the “42” in the outfield.
The Yankees -- the Dodgers’ biggest rival when Robinson played in the Major Leagues -- will host the 2023 class of the Yankees-CUNY (City University of New York) Sport Management Mentoring Program at Yankee Stadium. Kicking off on Jackie Robinson Day and running through May, this year’s entire group of students will have the opportunity to attend and enjoy the games in the Judge’s Chambers on May 3 and May 13. In February of 2021, the New York Yankees proudly announced the creation of the New York Yankees Diversity and Inclusion Committee to identify, engage and address issues related to equality, racial justice, and inclusivity.
Leading up to and on Jackie Robinson Day, Robinson and his legacy will be commemorated by teams throughout baseball. A sampling of club activities are as follows:
In collaboration with The Players Alliance and the Texas Rangers, the Astros will host 75 high school-aged baseball and softball players from the Astros Youth Academy, Houston's Sterling High School and Fort Bend County's Hightower High School for an equipment donation known as the 'Equip the Future Clinic' on Jackie Robinson Day at Minute Maid Park before the Astros game against the Rangers.
The A’s will celebrate 21 Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship recipients ahead of the team's 1:07 p.m. PT matchup against the Mets. One of the scholars will throw out the game's ceremonial first pitch and will also join the TV broadcast to discuss the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the positive impacts of the scholarship program. Additionally, all A's fans in attendance for Saturday's game will receive an A's Kelly Green hat giveaway with the iconic "42" on the front.
The Blue Jays will honor the legacy of Robinson with a feature on the Negro League Museum, which will run in the stadium both pregame and in-game. The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Sandra Koomson, a barrier-breaking coach, leader, and mentor in the Jays Care Foundation community.
Atlanta will commemorate Jackie Robinson Day at Truist Park on April 21 as the team takes on the Astros. In honor of the day, the Braves will host 55 children and chaperones from the Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club in Cairo, Ga., the birthplace of Robinson, for a special day of celebration and activities.
In partnership with Everfi, the Brewers launched the Jackie Robinson Art Showcase, encouraging Wisconsin fans 18 years old and younger to create an original artistic expression that captures the spirit of one or more of Jackie Robinson's values, as identified by his daughter Sharon's book, "Jackie Robinson's Values to Live By: Becoming Your Best Self" -- citizenship, commitment, courage, determination, excellence, integrity, justice, persistence and teamwork.
The first 25,000 fans aged 16 and older will receive a Cardinals hat saluting the career of Jackie Robinson. Fans in attendance will also have the opportunity to stop by the Jackie Robinson Day tent in Ford Plaza to complete Jackie Robinson Day activities.
The Cubs will celebrate the life and legacy of Robinson with the club’s Jackie Robinson Celebration at Wrigley Field on April 20. For the celebration, the Cubs will fly “42” flags around the Wrigley Field Marquee and roofline from April 15-20.
Arizona commemorated the special day by hosting a teen movie night on Friday at the Diamondbacks Branch Teen Center. Thirty participating club members attended a viewing of the film "42," with a discussion to follow around the significance of Jackie Robinson, his values and what they mean to them.
The Giants will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day by educating fans about Jackie’s legacy through television and radio broadcast drop-ins and social media posts. The scoreboard at Oracle Park will pay tribute to Jackie and his historic contributions to the game of baseball and beyond. The Giants will also continue to support Jackie Robinson Scholars through the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
The celebration already started. The Guardians’ Triston McKenzie and Steven Kwan hosted the final CMSD school visit of the 2023 academic year for McKenzie and Kwan’s player program, True2U. Through the True2U program and in partnership with CMSD (Cleveland Metropolitan School District), McKenzie and Kwan mentor eighth graders at Valley View Boys Leadership Academy throughout the entire academic school year.
The Mariners will have a pregame ceremonial first pitch, which will be thrown out by former Mariners All-Star Ruppert Jones. In addition to pregame ceremony activities, the first 10,000 fans through the gates will receive a Jackie Robinson "42" hat. Fans will also have the opportunity to bid for a chance to win a team-signed #42 jersey at MLB.com/Auctions, all proceeds from the auction will benefit the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Miami will host Jackie Robinson Day and South Florida Black Legacy Celebration at loanDepot park, commemorating the impact that Jackie and local community leaders have had on our society as advocates for civil rights and equality. Bryce Pendleton, a student at the University of Miami and Jackie Robinson Foundation Legacy Scholar, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
They started their celebration early as they partnered with Citi and the Jackie Robinson Museum on April 5, to hosting 60 young people at Citi's headquarters and the Jackie Robinson Museum.
Washington will honor Jackie Robinson by donating signed, game-worn apparel from the day, which will be auctioned off April 21-28 at nats.com/JRDAuction. Proceeds will benefit the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy.
In partnership with Nike and in honor of Jackie Robinson Day, the Orioles will read "Testing the Ice: A True Story about Jackie Robinson" by Sharon Robinson to the Boys & Girls Club at Laurel Woods Elementary School. The Orioles will also provide the students with their own copy of the book, along with Nike giveaways, MLB Jackie Robinson Day worksheets and coloring pages.
The Padres will honor Johnny Ritchey -- who broke the color barrier for professional baseball on the West Coast in 1948, a year after Jackie Robinson did the same for MLB -- with replicas of the Pacific Coast League uniforms worn by Ritchey and team in 1948 when he broke the color barrier.
The Phillies will host their Jackie Robinson Salute on April 20 before that night’s game against the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. As part of the on-field tribute, the club will recognize two Pioneers in Pinstripes -- Theodore “Ted” Washington and Chuck Randall -- who will be featured in a PhanaVision video narrated by 1993 National League champion and coach for the 2008 World Series champions Milt Thompson.
The Rangers will team up with the Houston Astros in a first-of-its-kind joint event with The Players Alliance (TPA). TPA will host 75 Black high school baseball and softball players for an equipment donation and Equip The Future™ clinic, the same mentorship program hosted at the Texas Rangers Youth Academy in January as part of the Rangers’ MLK Day of Service.
Tampa Bay will celebrate the day through several activities, including a free Jackie Robinson Softball Clinic hosted at Tropicana Field. The event will be hosted in partnership with the St. Petersburg Police Department and St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation. The clinic, featuring Olympic gold medalist Michele Smith, will aim to encourage young girls from underrepresented populations to play softball.
HBCU schools Wilberforce University and Kentucky State University played a special baseball game on April 12 at the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy. Players from both teams wore authentic replica Negro Leagues jerseys and received custom baseball cleats from Nike. Additionally, Reds players Hunter Greene and Will Benson visited Cincinnati Public School’s Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School on April 14 to speak to the baseball and softball teams about their journey to the Major Leagues.
On Saturday, the Red Sox will honor Jackie Robinson, including a special pregame ceremony at Fenway Park commemorating the 76th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. The 42 specialty jerseys issued that day will be autographed, authenticated and auctioned off to benefit the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
The Royals will host a Club 42 Panel discussion with Royals front-office associates discussing their paths into sports with local high school students from Kansas City Public Schools and Kansas City Kansas Public Schools. The Royals will provide the high schools students with dinner and tickets to the Royals game that evening. Prior to the game, the Royals will present the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum with a check on-field to highlight the free February initiative and Salute to the Negroes League. LTG Milford Beagle Jr., the first Black Commanding General at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., will throw out the first pitch.
To celebrate Jackie Robinson Day against the visiting San Francisco Giants, the first 15,000 fans to enter Comerica Park will receive a special “42” Jackie Robinson Day hat.
Their social platforms will share personal comments from All-Star Byron Buxton, who reflects on Jackie’s legacy and how it has influenced his own journey. On Friday, before the Twins play at Yankee Stadium, Buxton will join teammate Nick Gordon and MLB Network host Harold Reynolds for a special tour of the Jackie Robinson Museum.
Chicago launched the seventh annual Jackie Robinson Student Contest, inviting students to submit a creative work that honors an African American trailblazer in baseball. More than 50 young artists and filmmakers found unique ways to spotlight unsung heroes who greatly contributed to the history and legacy of the sport.