Looking back at Jackie Robinson's MLB debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, millions who were yet to be born consider it absurd that most white Americans assumed blacks lacked the hand-eye coordination, speed or intelligence to play Major League Baseball.
Though Major League Baseball is celebrating the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's inaugural game, the current rosters are said to be less integrated than they have been in decades.
For all April 15 games, players on every team will honor Robinson by wearing his iconic No. 42 - a tradition now in its ninth season.
A glittering cast of baseball dignitaries graced Dodger Stadium Saturday to mark the unveiling of a statue of Jackie Robinson on the 70th anniversary of Robinson's debut with the team, when he became the first black player in Major League Baseball history. It depicts Robinson stealing home and is located in the left field entrance of Dodger Stadium.
"It captures dad's fierce compassion and determination", said Sharon Robinson of the statue. And I think that's just such a cool thing.
On the statue's granite base are three of Robinson's quotes as chosen by the family, including wife Rachel's favorite: "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives". On Saturday, the Dodgers revealed it, on the 70th anniversary of Robinson making his Major League Baseball debut.
This week's retrograde is dedicated to Jackie Robinson as well as Larry Doby and others (including Pee Wee Reese) who paved the way for equity in baseball.
The first 40,000 fans in attendance received a replica of the statue. That Strawberry is still so recognizable nearly 20 years after his retirement speaks to an era in which baseball really was America's pastime, and possessed stars who transcended the sport.
It was Campanis' stumbling interview on ABC's "Nightline" with Ted Koppel in 1987 that laid bare baseball's patronizing attitude toward blacks and forced the sport to begin taking the concept of equal opportunity more seriously. "Jackie Robinson showed us you can stand up, be strong and be respected, and play great ball under tremendous pressure". Nevertheless, the reverence that my father held for him has stayed with me my entire life. A stellar athlete, young Robinson excelled not only in baseball but was a lettered athlete in football, track and field.
(AP Photo/File). FILE - In this 1962 file photo, former baseball player Jackie Robinson and his wife, Rachel, pose in their CT home in 1962. I get to wear a pair of custom Jackie Robinson cleats by New Balance. He won the World Series with the Dodgers in 1955.