MLB Celebrates 'Jackie Robinson Day'

Charles E. Sutton | 4/13/2012, 11:30 a.m.

Major League Baseball (MLB) commemorated the 65th anniversary on April 15 of Jackie Robinson's legendary breaking of the color barrier. The league-wide celebration showcased all players and on-field personnel wearing attire emblazzoned with Robinson's legendary No. 42.

"When Jackie Robinson took the field in Brooklyn 45 years ago (in 1947), he transcended the sport he loved and helped change our country in the most powerful way imaginable," MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said. "It is a privilege for Major League Baseball to celebrate Jackie's enduring legacy each year, and we are proud that every April 15 our young fans around the world have the opportunity to learn everything that No. 42 stands for - courage, grace, and determination."

Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson and founder of the Jackie Robinson Foundation also commented on the special celebration that was held at New York's Yankee Stadium.

"It gives us great pride to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Jack's barrier-breaking accomplishments," said Rachel Robinson. "This anniversary serves as a reminder of Jack's groundbreaking legacy and the profound impact he had on America. It is my hope that this commemoration serves as an inspiration to all as we look to unite behind our common goals."

In addition to pre-game ceremonies, home teams featured "Jackie Robinson Day" with jeweled lineup cards and bases. Yankee Stadium showed a special video that highlighted Robinson's story.

The celebration at the famous stadium, where other Robinson family members participated, included a game on ESPN that featured the Angels and Yankees. The family also joined MLB in announcing the winners of the "Barriers: In Sports, In Life" essay contest, which recognized students for their efforts overcoming personal issues, using the values exemplified by Robinson.

Robinson played his first major league game at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York, on April 15, 1947 as a first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers. MLB retired his number during the league in 1997, and has dedicated April 15 as Jackie Robinson Day each year since 2004.