Bees, baseball remembers Jackie Robinson

"Jackie Robinson showed us you can stand up, be strong and be respected, and play great ball under tremendous pressure". Robinson was the first black man to play in the major leagues, ending six decades of racial segregation, and a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The statue depicts Robinson sliding into home plate during his rookie season.

Baseball's drive for diversity remains a work in progress, but Johnson smiled broadly as Dodgers manager Dave Roberts presented Rachel Robinson with a framed picture of the sculpture.

The Los Angeles Dodgers unveiled a statue on Saturday honoring trailblazer Jackie Robinson, Major League Baseball's first African American player.

The annual tradition of the #42 jersey has returned as the Indians and Tigers play Game 2 of their three-game weekend set on Saturday at Progressive Field. He won the World Series with the Dodgers in 1955.

"Jackie paved the way for that, I couldn't be an owner of the Dodgers without Jackie", Magic said.

The bronze statue was sculpted by Branly Cadet, who called Robinson one of his heroes. Also on hand was Robinson's 94-year-old widow, Rachel, as well as two of the couple's children, Sharon and David.

The statue will remain outside of the stadium's Left Field Reserve Plaza, which is one of the more heavily traversed areas of the park. It weights 700 pounds and is secured with a 150-pound steel rod. "I want to get out and do more community stuff throughout the year, target the youth and let them know to not to give up on your dreams".

"We had seen pictures of it, but to see it in person, it was everything we hoped it would be", said Sharon Robinson.

Also invited are about 50 members of Robinson's extended family, the majority from his late brother Mack's side of the family in nearby Pasadena.

Scully told a longtime favorite yarn of an offseason promotional event in NY when he was a young broadcaster and Robinson was one of the Dodgers' top players. It was more than fitting the Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer in the history of the game, and a noted humanitarian, would be the last to don No. 42.

There is no arguing that Robinson opened a path of opportunity, and not just for African-Americans. "Stealing home is one of the hardest things to do in baseball, so the act of stealing home, I thought was a good metaphor".

"That's the goal, to inspire kids", he said.



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