Throughout Major League Baseball, Jackie Robinson’s ‘strength and courage’ are celebrated on his special day.

In Los Angeles, Major League Baseball commemorated the 77th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in the sport. Robinson’s historic start at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, marked the beginning of the end of racial segregation that had confined Black players to the Negro Leagues for decades.

Speaking at Dodger Stadium, sociologist and civil rights activist Harry Edwards likened Robinson’s ordeal to that of Jack Johnson, the heavyweight champion in 1908, stating that Robinson faced relentless verbal abuse and mistreatment. Robinson’s family, including his 101-year-old widow, attended events across the country to honor him.

In a special tribute at Citi Field, Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s widow, received flowers from Mets manager Carlos Mendoza and retired players Mookie Wilson and Butch Huskey. David Robinson, the youngest son of Jackie and Rachel, reflected on his mother’s enduring legacy of resilience.

Every team playing that day donned No. 42 jerseys in homage to Robinson. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, the second Black manager to lead a team to a World Series title, emphasized Robinson’s remarkable perseverance in the face of adversity.

Before the game in Los Angeles, players and staff from the Dodgers and the Washington Nationals gathered around Robinson’s statue in Centerfield Plaza. Nationals manager Dave Martinez highlighted Robinson’s profound impact on both the Black and Hispanic communities, expressing gratitude for paving the way for players like himself and Roberto Clemente.

Former MLB player Reggie Smith recounted a meaningful encounter with Robinson during a flight, where Robinson’s acknowledgment inspired him to stand up against injustice on the field.

Ayo Robinson, Jackie and Rachel’s granddaughter, who was born after Jackie’s passing, reflected on her grandfather’s ongoing influence on society and expressed appreciation for his enduring legacy.

Smith urged current MLB players to remember Robinson’s sacrifices and to appreciate the progress made in the sport, emphasizing the importance of continuing to move forward while acknowledging the challenges of the past.

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