Jackie Robinson's legacy is expansive and all-compassing, and with that in mind, it's only fitting that Major League Baseball will spend a full year honoring the birth of the game's most important pioneer.Robinson was born on Jan. 31, 1919. This Thursday, on his 100th birthday, MLB will begin its yearlong
Jackie Robinson's legacy is expansive and all-compassing, and with that in mind, it's only fitting that Major League Baseball will spend a full year honoring the birth of the game's most important pioneer.
Robinson was born on Jan. 31, 1919. This Thursday, on his 100th birthday, MLB will begin its yearlong celebration of the man who ended the most egregious injustice in the game's history: segregation.
Robinson's wife, Rachel, and his daughter, Sharon, will be in New York on Thursday to officially welcome the centennial celebration. Robinson will be posthumously conferred the Key to Brooklyn, with the key presented to his family by Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams. Rachel and Sharon will also join MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred at the opening of an "In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson" exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.
On Feb. 5, Jackie and Rachel's alma mater, UCLA, will host a celebration jazz concert at Royce Hall on the university's campus. Four-time World Series champion and Latino Grammy nominee Bernie Williams is part of the lineup of performers that also includes 10-time Grammy Award winner Arturo Sandoval, and Grammy Award nominee Dave Koz.
The concert will not only honor Jackie's groundbreaking achievements in sports, but also his phenomenal strides in human and civil rights, his appreciation of American music and the arts and his unwavering devotion to his family. Sharon Robinson and UCLA alumnus and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will take the stage to honor Robinson.
The celebration will continue in February in Kansas City with the first of a series of PLAY BALL events located in cities with a connection to Robinson's history. The initial event will be held in conjunction with Black History Month on Feb. 7 at the Royals' MLB Youth Academy, located next to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Two years before signing with the Dodgers, Robinson was an All-Star player for the Kansas City Monarchs in 1945.
Additional PLAY BALL events will be held on March 25 in Montreal, where Robinson played for the Montreal Royals, a Dodgers farm team, in 1946, and in Pasadena, Calif., where Robinson and his family grew up. The Pasadena event will be held in September.
On March 3-4, MLB will participate in the Jackie Robinson Foundation's annual Scholar and alumni conference, with MLB employees serving on career panels, joining a community service effort to benefit Rise Against Hunger and hosting a luncheon for 30 Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars supported by MLB and its clubs at MLB Network's studios in Secaucus, N.J.
That evening, more than 1,200 guests and supporters will attend the Jackie Robinson Foundation's Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Marriott Marquis.
Among April's highlights are the traditional celebration of the anniversary of Robinson's first game with the Dodgers on April 15, 1947. All players and on-field personnel will wear Robinson's No. 42.
Prior to Jackie Robinson Day, MLB and USA Baseball will host the third "Trailblazer Series" at the MLB Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., where approximately 100 girls, ages 11-13, will participate in a three-day tournament designed to introduce and develop young women in the game of baseball.
In July, MLB will unveil a traveling exhibit, which was assembled by the Jackie Robinson Foundation to promote the opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum in December. It will be a part of All-Star week festivities in Cleveland from July 5-9 and will be featured separately at other venues and conferences in July and August.
Several individual teams will also be holding their own special Robinson celebrations. For example, on April 13, the D-backs will name their 42nd Diamonds Back Youth Baseball Field as Jackie Robinson Field.
In July, the Braves will invite teams from the Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club in Cairo, Ga. -- Jackie's birthplace -- to participate in the Braves' annual Youth Baseball Classic.
This Thursday, the Dodgers will partner with "Worthy of Love" to host 300 children at Dodger Stadium. Activities include singing Happy Birthday at the Jackie Robinson statue, a DJ, photo booth, balloon artist, face painting and petting zoo.
The celebration will conclude in December, with the opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum in New York City. Visit JackieRobinson.org for more about the Jackie Robinson Centennial Celebration.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.