As always, major-league ball pays respects to Jackie Robinson
Meanwhile, visitors to first Cyclones game in 2 years will be able to see Robinson-Reese statue up close
While Jackie Robinson Day, a tribute to the late Brooklyn Dodger trail-blazer, was celebrated throughout the major leagues on Thursday, visitors to the Brooklyn Cyclones’ MCU Park next month will be able to see, up close, a famed statue of the famed second baseman, rookie of the year and MVP.
The statue, right outside the Coney Island stadium, shows Robinson with Brooklyn Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese, who has his arm around Robinson. It commemorates a moment at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field when, after spectators in the stands shouted racist insults at Robinson, Reese came over to Robinson to show his solidarity.
When play resumes at MCU Park on May 18 for the first time in two years, many of those attending the game will doubtless walk over to see the statue.
The sculpture, created by William Behrends in 2005, was defaced in 2013, reportedly with swastikas and other hate graffiti, but was cleaned off quickly, the Eagle reported at the time.
Robinson broke the big league color barrier on April 15, 1947. Major League Baseball has retired his No. 42, and every player, manager, coach, and umpire now wears it on the anniversary of his debut.
In Los Angeles this year, manager Dave Roberts and the L.A. Dodgers, the successor team to the Robinson-era Brooklyn Dodgers, started Jackie Robinson Day several hours before Thursday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies with a private tribute to the Baseball Hall of Famer.
Wearing their No. 42 jerseys in honor of the Brooklyn Dodgers great, on-field personnel and others from the organization— approximately 75 in total — gathered around a Jackie Robinson statue at Dodger Stadium to pay their respects.
“It was great,” Roberts said. “Any time you can get the players and staff, front office and ownership, with a central thought and moment of recognition for Jackie Robinson Day, I thought it was special. It’s something the Dodgers plan on doing every year as far as gathering around Jackie to pay our respects and love of Jackie.”
“As a Dodger, it’s rewarding to wear No. 42 and bring his name and legacy to life. It’s something we’re looking forward to,” he said.
The New York Mets, in 2009, pioneered honoring Robinson with a “Jackie Robinson Rotunda” at Citi Field. Period black-and-white photos of Robinson, his teammates, and pioneering general manager adorn the walls.
Not all the photos are from the Brooklyn Dodgers — for example, one shows Robinson leaping high in a UCLA track uniform. Above the ball park entrance is an inscription of his famous quote: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
This year in, a video produced by MLB Network titled “Thank You, Jackie” narrated by former star Curtis Granderson presented Robinson’s impact as a champion on and off the field and was shown at all Major League ballparks.
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