Jackie's legacy aligns with White Sox mission

August 29th, 2020

CHICAGO -- The spirit of Jackie Robinson was felt throughout Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday night as the White Sox and Royals celebrated the heroic man who broke Major League Baseball's color barrier on April 15, 1947.

In fact, Robinson’s spirit is evident in a number of programs run by the White Sox and messages delivered by the organization.

Take their Amateur City Elite youth baseball program, as an example. Tryouts were held last Friday and Saturday at the Kroc Center for the 12U team, with more than 100 children vying for 24 spots. One of those kids was Amira Hondras, who became the first girl in ACE's 13-year history to make the program.

Her brother, Tre, will be playing baseball for the University of Michigan and is an ACE graduate. Amira also was the first girl to even try out for ACE.

“So we are 1-for-1. She’s the first to try out and she made the team,” said Kenny Fullman, the ACE program manager. “She was very excited, very thankful to be a part of the program.

“I was very happy for her. But she made the program because she’s a good player, not because she’s a female. She’s a very good baseball player.”

Fullman was happy with the amount of kids who were at the tryouts, which is a tribute to the great reputation ACE has developed over the years. Not only does it give kids an opportunity to play baseball who might not otherwise have that chance, but it allows them to grow as individuals and take their skills on to college.

All of the equipment costs for these players are covered by Chicago White Sox Charities.

“We are trying to get more African American, minority and urban kids involved and playing the game of baseball,” Fullman said. “This day is special because Jackie Robinson was the first to break the color barrier in playing baseball in the Major Leagues, and this program is giving our kids the opportunity to show their skill level so maybe one day they can play at the highest level. And use the program also as a stepping stone to play in college.

“But we want to give them the opportunity to level the playing field and be able to afford to play the game of baseball and see a lot of things they haven’t seen before. That’s what ACE does.”

Prior to Friday’s game against the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field -- a game in which all players and personnel wore Robinson’s No. 42 -- a 42-second moment of silence was observed. Earlier in the day, shortstop sent a stirring message through Twitter in honor of Robinson.

Related

MLB 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.

“Today is a big day for the game of baseball for what Jackie meant to us as baseball goes and as a society,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “Hopefully the reminder on this day will be how important it is to continue to keep our eyes open and be vigilant to what we need to do and how we care for each other.”