Dodgers Unveil Jackie Robinson Statue on 70th Anniversary of His Debut
Yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of Jackie
Robinson debut in the Major League Baseball. On this day in 1947, he broke baseball's color barrier by becoming the first black baseball player in the MLB. To honor his legacy, the Los Angeles Dodgers decided to unveil a brand new bronze status to permanently be displayed outside Dodger Stadium. The statue is located in the Left Field Reserve Plaza, one of the highest-traveled areas of the ballpark frequented by fans the most.
Yesterday's game saw a significant increase in traffic in this area as one of baseball's most important figures was immortalized. Not only was Jackie Robinson important to Dodgers and baseball history, but also to the history of civil rights in which he made a worldwide impact that still resonates and inspires today.
Such a huge impact that it became important for the entire league to honor Robinson on this day on a yearly basis. The annual baseball celebration, which became known as Jackie Robinson Day, began back in 2004. For all April 15 games, players on every team will honor Robinson by wearing his iconic No. 42 - a tradition that is now in its ninth season. In 1997, the league retired Robinson's No. 42 jersey and number across the entire baseball league.
Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947-1956, winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 1947. He won the NL MVP Award in 1949 and capped off an excellent major league baseball career with a World Series championship title with the Dodgers in 1955. He retired in 1956 and died in 1972.
While numerous statues of Robinson exist around the world, to include UCLA and Pasadena, the statue at Dodger Stadium will serve as a constant reminder of his many accomplishments and accolades both on and off the field.
Sculpted by Oakland-based artist Branly Cadet, the statue depicted a young Jackie Robinson during his rookie season in 1947, sliding into home plate in his signature style. Sitting at 77 inches and weighing 700 pounds, the accuracy of the details depicts Robinson in a rumpled Dodgers uniform to include details of his shoe bent backwards as it drags along the dirt at the beginning of his slide.
The 34,000 pound granite base sits 30 inches from the ground with three famous Robinson quotes inscribed:
"A life is not important except the impact it has on other lives." "I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me... All I ask is that you respect me as a human being."
"There's not an American in this country free until every one of us is free."
On Saturday, the stadium gave away 100 miniature statues of Jackie Robinson to the first 100 fans that arrived at the stadium on a first come first serve basis. Following the giveaway was an emotional ceremony before the Dodgers' 9:15pm home game against Arizona.
In attendance for the ceremony were Robinson's 94-year old wife Rachel and their children Sharon and David. Others who participated included included NBA legend and Dodgers owner Magic Johnson, former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda, baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson and retired broadcaster Vince Scully. Dodger greats Sandy Koufax, Steve Garvey, Fernando Valenzuela, and Orel Hershiser were also present for the unveiling of the statue.