Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

Remembering the sacrifice and impact of Jackie Robinson

(AP Photo, File). FILE - In this April 15, 1947, file photo, from left, Brooklyn Dodgers baseball players John Jorgensen, Pee Wee Reese, Ed Stanky and Jackie Robinson pose at Ebbets Field in NY.

The "Nightline" interview was part of a show that was meant to recognize the 40th anniversary of Robinson's groundbreaking first major league game and examine his legacy.

This will also be the ninth consecutive year that all on-field Major League Baseball personnel will wear Robinson's number, 42, on Jackie Robinson Day.

A glittering cast of baseball dignitaries graced Dodger Stadium Saturday to mark the unveiling of a statue of Jackie Robinson on the 70th anniversary of Robinson's debut with the team, when he became the first black player in Major League Baseball history.

Ahead of their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers held a ceremony to unveil a statue depicting Robinson sliding into home plate.

"He would have wanted that very much", Sharon Robinson said. "I have a Jackie Robison wall at my house, in my weight room, there's Jackie on his wall, along with me, so, it's just that I'm not that overly happy about it because I think we should do this every day instead of just one day a year".

My family watched every movie there was about Jackie Robinson. Robinson went 0-for-3 in his debut, won 5-3 by the Dodgers. Stealing bases was one of Jackie Robinson's many baseball talents. He is the first to be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium.

"I was born in '49, but it had to be '50-something, watching the Dodgers, listening to my dad - the old movie, "The Jackie Robinson Story", you know, with Ruby Dee, in black and white, and that's what I probably first remember".

"A life is not important", one of the quotes reads, "except in the impact it has on other lives". The year before the Campanis controversy, 18 percent of major league players were African-American according to a study produced by the Society for American Baseball Research.

Jackie Robinson died three years before my birth. I get to wear a pair of custom Jackie Robinson cleats by New Balance. Nevertheless, the reverence that my father held for him has stayed with me my entire life.

In 2004, Commissioner Bud Selig and Robinson's daughter Sharon made the announcement that all 13 ballparks having games that day would have festivities to honor Robinson.

Robinson, raised in California, got a taste of the Canadian winter as the Royals capped off the year by beating the American Association's Louisville Colonels for the Junior World Series championship. More than 40 years later I realize why Robinson mattered so much to my dad, because he was a symbol of the possibilities that were ahead, not for him, but his young son.

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