Jackie Robinson, most recently immortalized in last year’s baseball film, 42, is a sports icon—in large part due to the significant contribution he made to all sports in being the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball during racial segregation (prior to the Civil Rights Movement).
Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball when he started for the Brooklyn Dodgers 67 years ago on this very day, April 15, 1947.
10 years ago, in 2004, Major League Baseball decided to commemorate Robinson’s legacy by beginning a tradition, known as Jackie Robinson Day, in which all uniformed players and managers wear the number 42 to honor his legacy.
— MLB (@MLB) April 15, 2014
Robinson’s contribution to society reaches well beyond the baseball diamond. Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Fame point guard Magic Johnson, who now is a minority owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers—the team with which Jackie broke barriers so long ago, was profoundly impacted by his legacy.
Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star power forward Kevin Love, who attended Robinson’s alma mater; the University of California, Los Angeles; and wears his number in the NBA, also has great respect for what Jackie accomplished.
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) April 15, 2014
Former NBA swingman Tracy McGrady, who is presently making an attempt at plying his skills as a professional baseball pitcher with the Sugar Land Skeeters in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (which is not affiliated with MLB), also shared his admiration of Robinson.
Great day to honor Jackie Robinson. His strength, character, talent, and perseverance changed the game of #baseball & the nation.
— Tracy McGrady (@Real_T_Mac) April 15, 2014
Of course, both UCLA and the Dodgers also took part in honoring Robinson.
— UCLA Athletics (@UCLAAthletics) April 15, 2014
Baseball Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, whose legacy is also with the Dodgers and (coincidentally) began his coaching career with Los Angeles a year after Robinson’s death, remembered him for his greatness on the field.
Take a moment with me to remember one of the greatest baseball players who played the game of baseball! Happy Jackie Robinson day! #42 — Tommy Lasorda (@TommyLasorda) April 15, 2014
Dodgers two-time American League MVP runner-up, Mike Trout, is honored to take part in Jackie Robinson Day.
What an honor to play on the day that pays tribute to the man who paved the way for so many!!!! #Jackie42
— Mike Trout (@Trouty20) April 15, 2014
ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jay Harris shared one of Robinson’s most memorable quotes.
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” – Jackie Robinson #JackieRobinsonDay
— Jay Harris (@JayHarrisESPN) April 15, 2014
We should all strive to heed Robinson’s words and worry more about the impact that our lives can have on others. The world just might be a much better place to live.
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