Statue of Jackie Robinson unveiled at Dodger Stadium

First look at the new Jackie Robinson statue. In 10 Major League Baseball seasons, he batted.311 and was honored as Rookie of the Year (1947) and Most Valuable Player (1949). He stood up against the institutionalized hatred of the Jim Crow era to open the major leagues to African-Americans and soften the heart of a nation steeped in racism.

At the ballpark where Robinson played his first integrated game, the Dayton Tortugas (High A; Florida State League) will stage a fitting tribute.

Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball on April 15, 1947.

The first Jackie Robinson Day recognized across baseball was in 2004, and has grown since to the point where now every uniformed player and coach wears his number, 42. It was the debut of a player on the Dodgers that made headlines as it was possibly the most significant professional sports debut of all time. He won the World Series with the Dodgers in 1955. In 2007, Ken Griffey Jr. asked for, and received permission from Robinson's family and the Commissioner, to wear "42" on his jersey for "Jackie Robinson Day". He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Robinson's successful integration of Major League Baseball is credited with helping change Americans' attitudes toward blacks and being a catalyst toward later civil rights advances. Now, both organizations are starting to see the fruits of their labor ripen as top draft prospects become more diverse.

“He pulled Mrs. Robinson aside and said, ‘Were going to get a statue of your husband, ” team co-owner Magic Johnson said. "There's still lots and lots of struggles in this world and it's a very complicated place". "When all of us are looking down, we will have thousands of students that bear the Jackie Robinson name".

Tomorrow's statue will be revealed in the left field reserve plaza.

It wouldn't be until 1975, when the Cleveland Indians named Frank Robinson player-manager, when Jackie Robinson's dream would come true.

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.

  • Julie Sanders