College baseball: UCLA honors Jackie Robinson Day with throwback uniforms

Looking back at Jackie Robinson's MLB debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, millions who were yet to be born consider it absurd that most white Americans assumed blacks lacked the hand-eye coordination, speed or intelligence to play Major League Baseball.

That changed months later when the Los Angeles Dodgers general manager, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Robinson's breaking of the so-called "color-line", attempted to respond to the dearth of black managers by suggesting that perhaps African-Americans were ill-equipped to manage.

I was traveling with my 14-year-old daughter when I spotted former Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry in the airport.

Here are a few more details about the ceremony and the statue itself from the Dodgers. For this special occasion, all players and on-field personnel across the league will don No. 42 jerseys in honor of Robinson, as they have every April 15 since 2009. Meanwhile, the Jackie Robinson Museum at 75 Varick Street in New York City still hasn't opened.

Robinson is the only major league baseball player to have his number, 42, which has been retired league wide.

Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson, as well as his two children, Sharon and David Robinson were also in attendance, and together, the threesome counted down the moment where the blue curtain was dropped at the statue was unveiled to adoring fans and guests.

"She's really led the charge on the legacy building", Sharon Robinson said. It is the first statue at Dodger Stadium.

Workers install a bronze statue of Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson outside Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

While the Dodgers will unveil a statue of the Hall of Fame second baseman and Major League Baseball trailblazer at their home stadium tonight, the Washington Nationals outfielder will wear cleats with images of Robinson emblazoned upon them, with some of his stats listed in adjacent white spaces.

Among the Robinson quotes inscribed on the base of the statue is, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives". Latinos are as prevalent in the game as ever, but they're often resented by white players and fans for their expressive and emotional style of play. "When all of us are looking down, we will have thousands of students that bear the Jackie Robinson name". "I'm just happy. I'm bubbling over". That year, Jackie won the Rookie of the Year award and helped his team become the first interracial team to play in the World Series.

Robinson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962 and died 10 years later at 53.

  • Julie Sanders