Jackie Robinson, No. 42, of the Dodgers. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Major League Baseball will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day Friday, four months later than usual because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jackie Robinson Day, customarily held on April 15, marks the anniversary of his breaking baseball’s color line in 1947.

Because there were no games played on April 15, Jackie Robinson Day is being held on the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.

The San Diego Padres, as will all MLB teams, will join in the celebration, which may take on more meaning this year in the wake of police shootings that have led to widespread protests, from the streets to the sports world.

The team posted this tribute on Twitter:

Robinson, his wife and children were among the more than 200,000 people in attendance for the demonstration. Best remembered for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, the march also led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.

After attending the march, Robinson wrote, “I’ve never been so proud to be a Negro. I’ve never been so proud to be an American.”

Aug. 28 is also the anniversary of Robinson’s three-hour meeting with Brooklyn Dodgers President Branch Rickey at the team’s office in 1945. That led to his signing with the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ International League affiliate, later that year.

For the 12th consecutive year on Jackie Robinson Day, all players and other on-field personnel will wear Robinson’s No. 42. The sport retired the number 42 for all teams in 1997 on the 50th anniversary of the Hall of Famer’s debut with the Dodgers.

The Jackie Robinson Day logo will be included on caps worn by on-field personnel, bases and official dugout lineup cards.

Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Mookie Betts narrated MLB’s 90-second Jackie Robinson Day video, “4 Us 2 Remember” which celebrates Robinson’s life and legacy away from the field.

The narrative includes Robinson’s own words from his 1972 autobiography, “I Never Had It Made,” with insights from his daughter, Sharon, and archival footage and photos from Robinson’s life.

Mirroring Robinson’s activism, baseball players and athletes from throughout sports have joined in the protests that stemmed from the May death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the Sunday shooting of a Wisconsin man, Jacob Blake.

– City News Service

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