Today is a great day for baseball. It's a great day for the Dodgers. They get to honor one of the greatest players in MLB history, a man who once said, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." Nobody has had a greater impact on the game of baseball than that man, Jackie Robinson.
On 64 years ago today, April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson suited up for the Brooklyn Dodgers and played first base at Ebbets Field against the Boston Braves. Robinson went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt on that day, but his sacrifice for baseball was infinitely greater. By breaking the color barrier, Robinson opened up a whole new world for baseball.
The amount of verbal abuse Robinson endured on the baseball field was unimaginable. Things were yelled at him that would make Kevin Garnett blush. Even the exaggerated narrative that now paints Dodger Stadium as an unsafe war zone seems like a stroll through the tulips compared to the venom spewed at Robinson by opponents, and some fans.
Robinson endured all of the barbs, all the slurs, and throughout remained an excellent ballplayer. He has an inspiration to many. MLB launched a website on Friday, iam42.com, which features video tributes from several current and former players, and invites fans to do the same. "Jackie Robinson to me means everything," said Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp, "He's just a great person, very humble, and somebody you want to be like."
Kemp will wear number 42 on Friday night, as will all uniformed personnel throughout baseball, to honor Robinson, a tradition dating back to 2007. The Dodgers haven't lost when everyone wears 42, winning all four contests on Jackie Robinson Day.
Don Newcombe was a teammate of Robinson in Brooklyn, and Newcombe will throw out the ceremonial first pitch tonight, culminating the pregame ceremony honoring Robinson at Dodger Stadium. “The Dodgers and Jackie Robinson have been a team for so many years and they remain a team today,” said Newcombe. “I look forward to helping the next generation of Americans learn all about who Jackie was and how much he means to so many people.”
That's what today is all about. Remembering history. Being proud to be a fan of the sport that Jackie Robinson played.