70 years to the day since he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, Jackie Robinson got one of the ultimate honors as he was immortalized with his likeness outside Dodger Stadium. It was very fitting that Robinson was the first to get a statue for the storied Los Angeles Dodgers, being the trailblazer he was in Brooklyn.
Jackie Robinson‘s career with the Los Angeles Dodgers began in 1947 after time in the minor leagues with the Montreal Royals. Before that he had spent a season with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues. Branch Rickey, the club president and general manager of the Dodgers, was instrumental in bringing Robinson in.
Article continues below ...
Though Robinson didn’t follow the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles with his retirement in 1956, the impact and importance to the organization in Dodger blue, white, and red is something that cannot be forgotten. On hand for the unveiling were Dodgers legends such as Tommy Lasorda and Sandy Koufax among others. Robinson’s widow, Rachel, and his family were also on hand.
Robinson’s overall impact on baseball and society by being the first African-American in MLB changed the game forever, but Robinson the baseball player was also one of the greats in Dodger history. After capturing the Rookie of the Year title, Robinson won the NL MVP in his third season in 1949. Robinson went to six All-Star Games, and was a part of the 1955 Dodger team that won the World Series.
The fortitude and class Robinson displayed when he was brought paved the way for future generations of baseball players.
Among those that saw Jackie in his glory was longtime Dodger announcer Vin Scully who was in attendance Saturday. ESPN reported Scully’s telling a story regarding how Robinson’s significant #42 was in the thoughts of players long before everyone wore them once a year:
“The Dodgers had a young left fielder by the name of Gene Hermanski, and Gene was colorful, bright, blond, white and full of you-know-what,” Scully said. “And in this quiet atmosphere in the clubhouse, Gene suddenly says, ‘I’ve got it!’ He said, ‘We’ll all wear No. 42, and they’ll never know which one is Jackie Robinson.’ That game was played without incident, and the only player to wear No. 42 that day was Robinson. On Saturday, however, everybody wore Robinson’s number. “In 2004, Gene Hermanski‘s words from 1950 came to fruition,” Scully said. “‘We’ll all wear No. 42.’ And all across the country, every player will be wearing No. 42.”
With Robinson’s statue in place, many more statues could be made for legendary Dodgers, as they are one of the most storied teams in the history of the game. Teammates of Robinson could even be among those who should get honored in bronze form such as: Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snyder and Roy Campanella. Many others could also be honored down the line.