Friday marked the 69th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball and in honor of the legend, all players and coaches continued with the tradition of wearing Robinson’s iconic No. 42 jersey.
April 15 has become known throughout Major League Baseball as Jackie Robinson Day, and it carries special meaning for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The franchise welcomed Robinson’s daughter Sharon and wife Rachel, among several others, as they hosted a pregame ceremony prior to first pitch against the San Francisco Giants.
Robinson’s teammate Don Newcombe was involved with the ceremony, and so too was Frank Robinson, MLB’s first African-American manager. The night was particularly symbolic for Dave Roberts, who became the Dodgers’ first minority manager in November. He called seeing Newcobme and others on the field an “awe moment” for himself.
Roberts, who by and large made little of his managerial and Dodger Stadium debut, said he’d allow some time to enjoy Friday’s special meaning and festivities. “I haven’t taken certain moments in, but I think I’m going to make a conscious effort to really understand and take in the scope and magnitude of it,” he said.
“It’s a big deal.Jackie has obviously impacted me and many others. I’m going to take some extra time to really reflect. … Any time you put on that No. 42 jersey, you feel a little more empowered and a sense of pride.”
Roberts caught the ceremonial first pitch from Frank Robinson, then went back to the dugout to assume his responsibilities as manager. “Seeing Mrs. Robinson, Sharon, and Frank Robinson, was pretty cool. Everyone coming in was special,” Roberts said.
So when did the rookie manager take that minute to reflect on what he was apart of? “After the homer from Kiké, it was a nice moment to take in the 53,000 fans,” Roberts answered. “After that, you focus on winning.”