Sixty-seven years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Los Angeles Dodgers were on the field against their storied rival, San Francisco Giants. Robinson played one season with Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Baseball League. Dodgers president Branch Rickey convinced Robinson to sign with the Dodgers, becoming the first African-American player in MLB since 1889.
Prior to the Dodgers game on Tuesday, Carl Crawford and Chone Figgins gave their thoughts on the importance of the symbolic day. In the video interview, Crawford touched on the honor of wearing the same number as Robinson in one game each season:
He opened up a lot of doors for us. He went through a lot so that we could be in this position, so each and every year we have to honor his name and wear his jersey.
According to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly feels a sense of closeness to Robinson because of the ties to the franchise:
Manager Don Mattingly said Jackie Robinson Day is a “big day for all of baseball. And I look at it as extra special for this organization because he played for us and is tied so closely to the organization. It’s a pretty cool feeling.”
Robinson took home Rookie of the Year honors in 1947 and later won a World Series with the Dodgers in 1955. Commission Bud Selig announced in 1997 every year on April 15 all players and teams would honor Robinson’s legacy by wearing his iconic No. 42 jersey.
Dodgers News: Yasiel Puig’s Thumb Injury, Strained Ligament