WATCH: Reggie Smith, Dave Roberts Speak To Dodgers & Nationals During Jackie Robinson Day Statue Visit

The Los Angeles Dodgers continued their tradition of visiting the Jackie Robinson statue in the center field at Dodger Stadium for the April 15 celebration, and they were accompanied by the Washington Nationals.

Manager Dave Roberts began the yearly practice of leading Dodgers players, front office personnel and more from the organization to the statue in 2021. The Chicago Cubs became the first opposing team to join the Dodgers on their Jackie Robinson statue visit in 2022.

Roberts again addressed the group that was gathered on Monday afternoon, and so too did Nationals manager Dave Martinez, Reggie Smith and civil rights activist, educator and author Dr. Harry Edwards. Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation CEO and former Jackie Robinson scholar Nichol Whiteman also spoke to the teams.

Ayo Robinson, Jackie and Rachel Robinson’s granddaughter, was among those on hand for the celebration.

“It’s a great day. And kind of in conjunction along with the Nationals, I think that we’re starting to establish a pretty cool tradition for the players, to get them together in front of Jackie’s statue, and just have a little bit of time to reflect and go back years and understand impact, legacy and responsibility to us,” Roberts said.

“So we had an opportunity to listen to Dr. Harry Edwards, which was great. He flew down from the Bay. And then also a good friend of mine, former Dodger great, baseball great Reggie Smith. So he spoke and gave some anecdotes. I was really pleased for him to join us, and obviously having the players here.”

Reggie Smith recalls Jackie Robinson memory

Smith enjoyed a 17-year career as a prolific switch-hitter who amassed more than 2,000 hits and 300 home runs. Smith won the 1981 World Series with the Dodgers and previously was recognized by Roberts by being on his coaching staff for the 2021 MLB All-Star Game.

While Smith was a member of the Boston Red Sox, he traveled to Dodger Stadium to play in the East-West Major League Classic exhibition that was a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

When Smith boarded a flight back to the East Coast, Jackie Robinson sat across from him.

“I’m sitting next to my boyhood hero,” Smith recalled. “The man who made it possible for me to even be here is on this plane sitting next to me. And he knew my name. He knew who I was. That was some kind of special. Something that I knew that I would take with me the rest of my life.”

Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!