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Dodgers to host "Jackie Robinson Legacy Day" at Dodger Stadium
01/30/2008 2:03 PM ET
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers, in partnership with the Jackie Robinson Foundation, announced today the first "Jackie Robinson Legacy Day" at Dodger Stadium. The celebration, initiated in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Dodgers' move to Los Angeles, takes place tomorrow, Thursday, January 31, on what would have been Robinson's 89th birthday and the commencement of Black History Month. The event launches the club's eight-day caravan.

School children from Mayberry Elementary, Atwater Avenue Elementary, 42nd Street Elementary School, Jackie Robinson Academy, and Roynon Elementary School along with Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars, will learn first-hand about Robinson's remarkable contributions not only to professional baseball, but also to the civil rights movement. The civil rights pioneer paved the way for equal rights and opportunities regardless of race. Robinson's story and legacy will be told by relatives, teammates, and others tied to the Dodgers' diverse history and culture.

To tell Robinson's story, the Dodgers have invited:
  • Jesse Simms, Robinson's grandson
  • Kathy Robinson-Young, Robinson's niece
  • Don Newcombe, Robinson's teammate, Dodger legend, and winner of baseball's inaugural Cy Young Award
  • "Sweet" Lou Johnson, Dodger legend and 1965 World Series hero
  • Babatunde Akinloye, Rachel Aladdin, and Justin Williams, Jackie Robinson Foundation and Team 42 scholars
  • Tommy Lasorda, Dodger Hall of Fame manager
"No sport in our time connects generations the way baseball does, and no team in our league connects generations the way the Dodgers do," said Vice Chairman and President Jamie McCourt. "It is essential that we continue to teach this story to families, to the entire Dodger Family.

"Jackie's efforts, together with Branch Rickey, made it possible for all children in our city and our nation today to pursue the ideal dream of their careers, without having to narrow the list because of closed doors, doors that he opened. His is a story that must be told in perpetuity, and we must recognize how fortunate we are that we still have primary sources who can explain first-hand the character of this Dodger legend and American hero."

Robinson joined the Dodgers on April 15, 1947, at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier and becoming the first African American baseball player in MLB history.

The same year Robinson broke the color barrier, he was awarded the 1947 Rookie of the Year Award. During his 10-year Major League career with the Dodgers, Robinson was the 1949 NL Most Valuable Player, made six All-Star Game appearances, and led the Dodgers in winning six NL pennants and the 1955 World Series. In 1962, Robinson became the first African American player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Robinson's civil rights work continued after his career, when he became involved with the NAACP. During his years as a civil rights advocate, Robinson worked with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Nixon.

On April 15, 2007, 60 years after Robinson courageously broke MLB's color barrier, the league hosted its national tribute at Dodger Stadium. More than 200 players throughout MLB wore the number 42 in honor of Robinson, including all Los Angeles Dodgers uniformed personnel. Dodger owners Frank and Jamie McCourt also extended their support to the Jackie Robinson Foundation with a grant of $105,000 annually for a decade to sponsor 42 new college scholarships, $2,500 each, annually that benefit minority students in the Los Angeles area. This endowment followed the McCourt's establishment of the "Team 42" Scholarship Program created on April 15, 2005, in conjunction with the Dodgers Dream Foundation. "Team 42" awards 42 scholarships of up to $7,500 annually to students in the greater Los Angeles area that attend a four-year college or university.

The "Jackie Robinson Legacy Day" begins at 11:30 a.m. and runs until 1:30 p.m. at the Stadium Club.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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