If the late, great Jackie Robinson were still with us, today he’d be celebrating his 103rd birthday. The Dodgers legend and civil rights leader was born on January 31st, 1919 in a small town in Georgia. Jack Roosevelt Robinson made his way west to become a multisport star at Pasadena City College then UCLA.
After time spent in the Negro Leagues then MLB minor leagues, Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier on April 15th, 1947, paving the way for racial integration into America’s pastime. Now nearly 75 years later, players still speak of the impact the Hall of Famer has on them and the game.
“Everything he went through,” Mookie Betts said on Jackie Robinson day 2020, “just means so much to me and to all of us in the black community. I can only thank him for everything he went through to pave the way for people like me.”
Last year, ahead of Jackie Robinson day on April 15th, Dave Roberts brought the entire organization out to the statue of the legend that resides in the centerfield plaza at Dodger Stadium to share thoughts on the man, the number 42, and the lasting legacy of his life.
It was just kind of painting a picture. We all know that Jackie Robinson the name, the 42 in every ballpark. But just trying to give people context on his life and his legacy and what he meant to not only people of color in baseball outside of baseball. Being treated fairly, being respected, not always being liked but being determined.
Back in 2020, free agent Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw had this to say of the icon.
This year especially it rings true just to what Jackie Robinson meant for the game, just understanding what he had to go through, and what people, unfortunately, are still going through today. It’s just a really special thing for me to get to be a part of. And I hope now more than ever, we can continue to move forward with what Jackie Robsinson started, and continue to integrate the world in a better way.
Here on his 103rd birthday, we celebrate and honor the greatness that was and is Jackie Robinson.