Jackie Robinson Celebrated Throughout MLB


Once a year, every major league baseball player wears the same number. They are united in celebrating one of the most important and influential sports figures of all-time. No one has their names on the back, they all commemorate, in unison, the life and career of Jackie Robinson.

#42 played in his first major league game on this day in 1947 for the Brooklyn Dodgers. This marked the first time a black baseball player participated in a major league baseball game. He broke the color barrier in baseball even before the U.S. Military was desegregated.

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Robinson went 0 for 3 with a run scored that day, but that game had more meaning than just the box score. It meant equality in baseball. Men, black or white, could suit up and play the game they loved together, regardless of race. Now, this isn’t to say that the transition was easy. Anyone who is familiar with Jackie Robinson’s experiences knows otherwise.

It was not an easy road. His life was filled with ridicule, threats and embarrassment. Yet he continued on. He knew he was trying to do something greater than himself. With the help of a supporting cast of family, teammates, and Brooklyn Dodgers brass, he succeeded.

No amount of stolen bases, hits or home runs will overshadow what Robinson did for baseball. Although he did lead the league in stolen bases his rookie year with 29 and collected 197 stolen bases in his 10 year career. He also added 137 home runs and 1,518 hits. Let’s be honest, strictly on paper those are hardly Hall of Fame numbers. But that is the tip of the iceberg of what Robinson really accomplished. He changed baseball and American sports forever.

His courage and tenacity was second to none. As a person and player in baseball, no one has made an impact like Robinson before or since. It is truly amazing to think all that he went through, the scorn and scoffing (and so much worse). He is an example to all of us of how we should live our lives. He is an exemplar of honor and courage. We all can take a page out of Jackie Robinson’s book.

So today, enjoy watching baseball games where you can’t really tell who is who. Everyone is #42. Because of #42, this game is better and this country is better.

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