Indians and Tigers commemorate Jackie Robinson on Saturday

Because of his hustle and refusal to be cowed by racist taunts, the Dodgers earned six National League championships and six trips to the World Series.

Seventy years after his Major League debut and 45 years after his death, America is still heavily indebted to the great 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.

Several players used their Twitter and Instagram accounts to pay tribute to Robinson. Major League Baseball took notice years ago and invested millions of dollars in youth programs, and The Jackie Robinson Foundation also recognized the need.

"I have often stated that baseball's proudest moment and its most powerful social statement came on April 15, 1947 when Jackie Robinson first set foot on a Major League Baseball field", said Selig.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were celebrating the 70th anniversary of his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. In fact, Robinson has been rewritten as an apolitical hero we can all rally around (ignoring more complicated aspects of his ideology), so praising him is the opposite of a radical position.

To honor his time in the MLB as the first African American baseball player in the modern era, both the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers are sporting the number 42 on their jerseys on Saturday at Progressive Field.

I do remember, though, when Robinson, only a few weeks after that appearance, succumbed to complications from heart disease and diabetes at age 53. For that I thank my dad, as I thank Jackie Robinson, on behalf of so many sons and daughters whose parents dreamed what was possible, because Robinson did.

"They are embracing the embodiment of Jackie Robinson and the courage that it takes to change society", David Robinson said.

Obviously, the issues of race and prejudice do not lend themselves to easy answers or simple solutions, and even the role that Campanis played in delivering a shock to baseball's exclusionary front-office hiring practices illustrates the complexity of those issues.

Robinson attended UCLA from 1939-41 and was a four-sport athlete in baseball, track and field, basketball and football. I love to listen to them talk about Jackie. To me, there is no greater way to do so than to be the country that he believed that we could.

  • Julie Sanders