Youngsters from the Jackie Robinson YMCA and San Diego Padres Reviving Baseball in the Inner-city leagues will take part in a pregame ceremony Tuesday night marking Jackie Robinson Day.
In honor of Robinson’s jersey number, 42, some 42 youngsters from the Jackie Robinson YMCA in Southeast San Diego will wear Padres No. 42 jerseys, lining Petco Park’s first base line before the game against the Colorado Rockies.Representatives of the RBI leagues will line the third base line. More than 700 players ages 5-18 will play in the leagues this year, doubling the amount from 2013, a team official said.
The Jackie Robinson YMCA drumline, the Thunder Squad, will perform at Park at the Park before the game.
Kenneth Patterson, a Jackie Robinson Foundation scholar, will throw a ceremonial first pitch. Patterson, a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, works in the global marketing department of TaylorMade-adidas Golf.
The Jackie Robinson Foundation provides four-year college scholarships, graduate school grants and extensive mentoring to a diverse group of academically distinguished students with leadership potential.
The foundation strives to cultivate future leaders who will be ambassadors of Robinson’s guiding life tenet, “A life is not important except in its impact on other lives.”
Major League Baseball has held Jackie Robinson Day annually since 2004, marking his breaking baseball’s color line on April 15, 1947.
Commissioner Bud Selig has called Robinson’s major league debut as “baseball’s proudest moment.”
“On that landmark day, Jackie ended segregation in baseball and ushered in an era in which baseball became the true national pastime,” Selig said.
Robinson went hitless in three at bats in his debut, but scored the go- ahead run in the Brooklyn Dodgers’ 5-3 victory over the Boston Braves before a crowd announced at 26,623 at Ebbets Field.
In a season where opposing players, at least one manager, and even some teammates were against Robinson integrating Major League Baseball, Robinson received the Rookie of the Year Award, which now bears his name, helping lead the Dodgers to the first of their six National League pennants in his 10 seasons with the team.
The No. 42 was ordered retired throughout baseball by Selig in 1997 on the 50th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball’s color line. Selig allowed it to be worn in 2007 by any player on the 60th anniversary on the suggestion of then-Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr.
Since 2009, every player and all on-field personnel have worn Robinson’s number, 42, during games on Jackie Robinson Day.
— City News Service
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