Coutinho: Always Remember Jackie Robinson On This Day

Coutinho: Always Remember Jackie Robinson On This Day

As the first African-American to attempt a career in the major leagues, Jackie received taunts, hate letters, even death threats.

Saturday, April 15, 2017, marks the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's history-making and history-shaking major-league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Ten years later, baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced on the 50th anniversary of Robinson's debut that his No. 42 would be retired throughout baseball. Over the following 12 seasons, eight of the National League MVP awards were won by black men.

And we're not limiting that to Dodgers history, baseball history or sports history either. "He would have wanted that very much", Sharon Robinson said.

I go back now to photos of Robinson, on that day in Cincinnati in the autumn of 1972.

The Dodgers play the Diamondbacks that day.

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According to a Dodgers press release, the statue will be located in the Left Field Reserve Plaza, which is already among the highest-traveled areas of the ballpark. It weighs 700 pounds and is secured with a 150-pound steel rod. Although, simultaneously, I had no trouble imagining a fleet-footed, determined Jackie Robinson stealing home in a cloud of dust.

That's quite a star-studded cast that will be on hand to honor Jackie Robinson and share the moment with his family.

Rachel Robinson and her two kids Sharon and David will be in attendance for the official unveiling, and they expect as many as 200 other family members and friends to be at Dodgers Stadium, along with Dodgers legends Sandy Koufax, Vin Scully, Tommy Lasorda and Dodgers owner Magic Johnson. "My dad was a humble person and here he is 70 years later being recognized".

First look at the new Jackie Robinson statue.

Robinson was the first black player in the major leagues since Moses Fleet Walker played 42 games for the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association in 1884.

On Saturday, Robinson's impact will be celebrated throughout baseball, from special lineup cards to jeweled bases to some players wearing commemorative cleats.

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