Indians and Tigers commemorate Jackie Robinson on Saturday

Beth Cruz
April 18, 2017

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.

Everything was perfectly placed Saturday, when it came to the Jackie Robinson statue the Los Angeles Dodgers unveiled at Dodger Stadium. The statue depicts Robinson stealing home as a rookie with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, a nod to the aggressive baserunning of the six-time All-Star. It weighs 700 pounds and is secured with a 150-pound steel rod.

The statue is located in the left field reserve plaza with a view of downtown Los Angeles and Elysian Park. In fact, Robinson stole home to help the Dodgers secure the win in the first game of the 1955 World Series.

Jackie Robinson poses at Ebbets Field on April 11, 1947.

My family watched every movie there was about Jackie Robinson.

There was, of course, much more, and yet it pales in comparison to Robinson's impact on baseball to this day. On Saturday, the Dodgers revealed it, on the 70th anniversary of Robinson making his Major League Baseball debut.

There are seven other statues of Robinson, from Pasadena to Daytona Beach to Stamford, Conn., no other American athlete is thought to be so recognized more often.

Robinson's wife Rachel and children Sharon and David were in attendance along with a host of Dodgers legends. They pointed out the signs, and where he "belonged", and in stunned silence he walked in the "correct" direction; until he died, I don't think he ever got past the shock of that experience.

Since 2004, baseball has honored Robinson's barrier-breaking career every April, the one day every player on every team wears his retired No. 42 jersey. So connected to these ideals through my baseball heroes, this is why baseball moves me. And the reason the the Martin Luther King's of the world could continue the fight, is no small part to the existence of a Jackie Robinson.

Jackie's success paved the way for more players of color to enter the league the next year, and even more the year after that, and diversity in the league continued to grow.

Scotty Bowman was 12 years old when he saw Jackie Robinson play in Montreal.

Sharon Robinson views the statue as a fitting connection between her father's local roots and his 10-year Hall of Fame career spent in NY. The players' union is making a grant this week from its Players Trust to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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