The Los Angeles Dodgers joined the rest of Major League Baseball in celebrating Jackie Robinson Day on Monday, April 16, marking the 65th anniversary of his breaking baseball’s color barrier.
Ceremonial first pitches were thrown by Don Newcombe, a teammate of Robinson’s with the Brooklyn Dodgers and now a Dodgers special adviser to the chairman, and Tommy Davis, who signed with the Dodgers in 1956 after receiving a call from Robinson.
Seven of the Dodgers’ “Team 42” scholars, who receive college scholarships through the Dodgers Dream Foundation and the Jackie Robinson Foundation, were recognized on the field before the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers Dream Foundation, the team’s charitable arm, funds 42 college scholarships each year as part of the “Team 42” program.
The First AME Church Unity Choir performed the national anthem and “God Bless America.” A video will be shown highlighting Robinson’s story.
All uniformed personnel–players, managers, coaches and umpires–throughout Major League Baseball will wear Robinson’s No. 42 Sunday. The number was retired throughout Major League Baseball in 1997 on the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s breaking the color line.
Commissioner Bud Selig allowed it to be worn in 2007 by any player on the 60th anniversary on the suggestion of then-Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr.
This is the sixth consecutive year on Major League Baseball’s Jackie
Robinson Day that all Dodger personnel have worn the number and the fourth consecutive year all major league personnel also wore the number.
“Jackie Robinson changed the world,” Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp said. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be wearing this baseball jersey right now. Who knows what would have happened?”
To Kemp, Robinson was a “great man, great man of character.” Dodger first baseman James Loney said “it means a lot” to be able to wear Robinson’s number.
“Playing in the organization he played for is really special,” Loney said.
One No. 42 jersey from each team will be signed and auctioned off on