A lot is happening today – it’s April 15th. You’re probably thinking about your income taxes – right? Did you get your taxes completed? If not, then did you file your extension? Guess what? Sixty-eight years ago today Jackie Robinson became the first black man to play major league baseball in the modern era. Columnists across America will write about their Jackie Robinson story today! It’s Jackie Robinson Day.
Jackie Robinson Day is a traditional event which occurs annually in Major League Baseball, commemorating and honoring the day Jackie Robinson made his major league debut. April 15 was Opening Day in 1947, Robinson’s first season in the Major Leagues. Initiated for the first time on April 15, 2004, Jackie Robinson Day is celebrated each year on that day. The festivity is a result of Robinson’s memorable career, best known for becoming the first black major league baseball player of the modern era in 1947. His debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers (today known as the Los Angeles Dodgers) ended approximately eighty years of baseball segregation, also known as the color barrier. He also was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 1962, remembered for his services with the number 42 jersey.
It seemed like it was only yesterday (but it was actually 7 years ago) when CitiField opened it’s doors and celebrated the 2009 season, commemorating the 62nd anniversary of Robinson’s debut, included the dedication for the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at CitiField. I’ve taken my son for a tour of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda – it’s important to let the youths know about real “game-changers” and role models who blazed the trails for not only for African Americans, but bridge the gap for all races.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my favorite baseball players – Mariano Rivera – with his retirement, that No. 42 is no longer active anywhere in Major League Baseball.
Happy 42 Day.