Jackie Robinson’s legacy continues to influence Major League Baseball 75 years after he first broke the league’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson was a star from the moment he stepped on the field, excelling despite an environment of hatred and abuse from other players and fans. Baseball retired Robinson’s No. 42 leaguewide in 1997, and in 2004 established Jackie Robinson Day, on which the league would honor his memory on the anniversary of his April 15, 1947, debut. Players, managers and umpires all wear No. 42 every April 15, and each team pays tribute to Robinson in its own way.
This year, the 75th anniversary of Robinson’s first Opening Day, is a special one. We’ll be highlighting tributes from across the league on one of baseball’s most important days. Before we get to that, however, make sure to check out some of our best Jackie Robinson stories of the year.
Why Robinson’s story still resonates: “Robinson spent his later life weaving his impact into other areas of American life. He had no intention of stopping progress at first base, and his post-baseball efforts became an extension of his Hall of Fame career, hitting the conscience of the board room, the political elite and the institutions of power, including MLB,” writes Doug Glanville.
How good was Robinson? He wasn’t the biggest star in the Negro Leagues. Baseball wasn’t even his best sport — in fact, it might have been his seventh best. But Jackie Robinson’s numbers were incredible — perhaps more so than you might realize. David Schoenfield breaks it down. Read more.
Carrying on Robinson’s legacy: Just 7.2% of Major League Baseball players on 2022 Opening Day rosters are Black, down from an all-time high of 18.7% in 1981. Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson and second baseman Josh Harrison, the only Black double-play combination in the majors, talk about how they’re trying to increase representation in these times. Read more.
“Jackie to Me”: For the 75th anniversary of Robinson’s debut, we talked to those who continue to be personally impacted and inspired by Robinson’s legacy — Oscar Robertson, Billie Jean King, Jesse Jackson, Chuck D, Willie O’Ree and more.
Why Robinson’s story is still important: Every time No. 42’s tale is told to a new generation, it keeps the lessons he taught us alive. Doug Glanville writes on Jackie’s enduring legacy. Read more.
Full Jackie Robinson Day coverage
KD on Jackie
Baseball isn’t the only place in which Robinson’s legacy can be felt, as Kevin Durant said on Thursday.
Kevin Durant speaks on Jackie Robinson:
“His impact is still being felt today, especially here in Brooklyn, New York City, and places that he went through on his journey.” pic.twitter.com/zk4erQrPcW
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) April 14, 2022