By Bob Nightengale |
Major League Baseball, which has traditionally honored Jackie Robinson on April 15 each year – the anniversary of breaking baseball’s color barrier – will now celebrate the 100th year anniversary of his birth during the entire 2019 baseball season.
Major League Baseball, which retired Robinson’s number and has celebrated Jackie Robinson Day in every ballpark since 2004, have planned ceremonies and youth initiatives connected to his life to support the Jackie Robinson Foundation’s scholarship and education programs throughout the year.
It begins Thursday with the centennial celebration of his birth on Jan. 31 in New York City. Robinson’s wife, Rachel, and daughter Sharon, will visit three New York City public schools with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred joining them along with Jackie Robinson Foundation President Della Britton Baeza at the Jackie Robinson exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.
MLB also plans to launch a series of Play Ball events during Black History Month in February beginning on Feb. 7 in Kansas City at the Royals’ Urban Youth Academy, located next to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
There will be a series of events every month celebrating Robinson’s legacy.
Here are some of the highlights:
- January: The Dodgers will host 300 children on Jan. 31 at Dodger Stadium to celebrate Robinson’s birthday.
- February: UCLA will have an alumni baseball game and host a celebration jazz concert at Robinson’s alma mater featuring former Major League All-Star center fielder Bernie Williams and Grammy Award winners Arturo Sandoval and Dave Koz.
- March: MLB will participate March 3-4 in the Jackie Robinson Foundation’s Scholar and alumni conference, and on March 25, Robinson will be celebrated in Montreal where he played for the Montreal Expos.
- April 15: Teams will continue to commemorate Jackie Robinson Day at ballparks with on-field tributes.
- July 5-9: This will be the start of a traveling exhibit to promote the opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum in Cleveland at the All-Star Week. The Atlanta Braves will also invite teams from the Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club in Cairo, Ga., Robinson’s birth home, this month to participate in the Braves’ annual youth baseball classic.
- December: The grand opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum in December in New York City.