LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball tomorrow will celebrate the 67th anniversary of Hall of Fame Dodger Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier in 1947. The Dodgers' commemoration of Robinson takes place at Dodger Stadium, starting with a youth baseball clinic for 120 youngsters from South LA's Challengers Boys & Girls Club from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) will also play host to 30 Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars and Alumni tomorrow at Dodger Stadium from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. In honor of Robinson, the Dodgers will join all Major League teams in proudly wearing No. 42 jerseys tomorrow when they face the Giants in San Francisco at 7:15 p.m. The Dodgers' game-worn Jackie Robinson Day jerseys will be auctioned at a later date to benefit LADF and the Jackie Robinson Scholars.
Each year, the Dodgers celebrate Jackie Robinson's legacy on April 15, the date of his Major League debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Robinson's uniform No. 42 was retired by the Dodgers in 1972 and in 1997, the 50th anniversary of his breaking of baseball's color barrier, Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball followed suit by dedicating his jersey number league-wide. Jackie Robinson Day has been celebrated throughout baseball on April 15 each year since 2004 and every player and all on-field personnel has celebrated Robinson's legacy by wearing his No. 42 during games scheduled on Jackie Robinson Day since 2009.
"It is truly our honor to celebrate the life and legacy of Jackie, a Dodger whose impact spans generations," said LADF Executive Director and Jackie Robinson Foundation Alumnus Nichol Whiteman. "As an organization, the pride we feel in being part of Jackie's club is humbling each and every day. We are committed always to carrying on Jackie's legacy, both on and off the field."
Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium begins at 11:00 a.m. when youngsters ages 8 to 16 from Challengers Boys & Girls Club in South Los Angeles take the field for a baseball clinic led by Dodger Alumni League members Al "The Bull" Ferrara, Kenny Landreaux and Derrel Thomas. The clinic will include fielding instruction on the field and hitting instruction in the indoor batting cages. The youngsters will also take an educational tour of Dodger Stadium, view a video on Jackie Robinson in the Dugout Club and be treated to lunch and a Dodger gift bag. The group will also hear from a panel that includes Dodger Alumni League members and Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars and Alumni.
Starting at 5:30 p.m., the LADF will play host to 30 Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars and Alumni, students from USC and UCLA. The group will take a special tour of Dodger Stadium and enjoy dinner in the Dodgers' event suite. LADF will present a panel "Careers Off the Field" featuring Dodger Alumni League members "Sweet" Lou Johnson, Al Downing and Dennis Powell and Dodger front office employees who will share their career path and answer questions for the JRF Scholars and Alumni. The group will also get to watch the Dodgers game at San Francisco tomorrow night on SportsNet LA in the event suite at Dodger Stadium.
Celebrations are planned throughout MLB. In New York tomorrow, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who was the first African-American manager in baseball history and is the MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Development, Sharon Robinson, Jackie Robinson's daughter and MLB Educational Programming Consultant and author, and MLB Network analysts Harold Reynolds and Cliff Floyd will light the Empire State Building "Dodger Blue" in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. For more information on league-wide Jackie Robinson Day celebrations, please visit mlb.mlb.com and www.IAm42.com.
The Dodgers and LADF are longtime supporters of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. The LADF continues to honor the legacy of Jackie Robinson with annual scholarship and program support, mentoring and networking opportunities for local Scholars and Alumni. LADF's support of the JRF is part of one of the pillars of the LADF, Education and Literacy. The LADF currently supports seven Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars. In 2013, LADF presented The Jackie Robinson Foundation Jazz on the Grass, an afternoon of jazz in Los Angeles, at a private home in Los Angeles benefiting JRF. The event provided additional funding for JRF programs.
About the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF)
Described in The New York Times in 2008 as what "might be the best educational effort in the country," the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) is a national, not-for-profit, organization founded in 1973 as a vehicle to perpetuate the memory of Jackie Robinson through the advancement of higher education among underserved populations. Uniquely, JRF provides generous four-year college scholarships in conjunction with a comprehensive set of skills and opportunities to disadvantaged students of color to ensure their success in college and to develop their leadership potential. JRF's hands-on, four-year program includes peer and professional mentoring, internship placement, extensive leadership training, international travel and community service options, the conveyance of practical life skills, and a myriad of networking opportunities. JRF's strategic combination of financial assistance and support services results consistently in a nearly 100 percent college graduation rate. More information can be found by visiting www.jackierobinson.org.
Media interested in covering tomorrow's Jackie Robinson Day celebration at Dodger Stadium should contact the Dodgers' Public Relations department by replying to this email or calling (323) 224-1301.