Jackie Robinson gets statue at Dodger Stadium A bronze statue of Brooklyn Dodgers' Jackie Robinson is unveiled outside Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles before the Los Angeles Dodgers' baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Saturday, April 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong/AP Photo, File)
Jackie Robinson gets statue at Dodger Stadium
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He was the first black man to play in the major leagues, ending six decades of racial segregation, and a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
 
Fittingly, Jackie Robinson is the first to be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. It was unveiled April 15 on the 70th anniversary of his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
 
Since 2004, baseball has honored Robinson's barrier-breaking career every April, the one day every player on every team wears his retired No. 42 number.
 
Two years ago on Jackie Robinson Day, owner and chairman Mark Walter suggested a sculpture belonged at Dodger Stadium of the six-time All-Star second baseman who starred when the team was in Brooklyn.
 
"He just felt it was an idea whose time had come," said Janet Marie Smith, the team's senior vice president of planning and development.
 
The 77-inch tall bronze statue depicts Robinson as a rookie in 1947 stealing home, a nod to his aggressive baserunning. It weighs 700 pounds and is secured with a 150-pound steel rod. It stands in the left field reserve plaza, with views of downtown Los Angeles in one direction and Elysian Park in the other.
 
Smith said the location was chosen because it's where the majority of fans enter the hillside ballpark that opened 55 years ago.
 
On the statue's granite base are three of Robinson's quotes as chosen by the family, including wife Rachel's favorite: "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."
 
"Our goal was to both celebrate Jackie Robinson as an athlete and to acknowledge the important role he had in civil rights and social change in America," Smith said.
 
The family shared numerous photos of Robinson with sculptor Branly Cadet of Oakland, California.
 
"They really wanted me to get the likeness and I assured them I'd be working very hard on that," he said. "That was the element I spent the most time on to capture an expression that would be happening in that moment."
 
Now 94, Rachel Robinson came from the East Coast to attend the unveiling, along with daughter Sharon and son David. Their other son, Jackie Jr., died in a car accident in 1971.
 
"This is going to be a very special time," Sharon Robinson said. "My dad was a humble person and here he is 70 years later being recognized. He used to come home and say, 'I got a standing ovation today,' and he would be so shocked."
 
Robinson's statue at the ballpark is the eighth of him, the most of any American athlete, according to two British researchers.
 
Statistician Chris Stride from the University of Sheffield and Ffion Thomas, a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Central Lancashire, have cataloged Robinson's monuments as part of their Sporting Statues Project database.
 
They found just two of his existing statues depict him playing baseball, while the rest commemorate Robinson's social achievements or association with a particular location.
 
"Each of the statutes, and given their location, reflects the totality of the man," Sharon Robinson said. "He would have wanted that very much."
 
Sharon Robinson views the statue as a fitting connection between her father's California roots and his 10-year Hall of Fame career spent in New York.
 
"It really links the Brooklyn Dodgers with the Los Angeles Dodgers," she said.
 
"It's not about looking back so much as it is feeling inspired," Sharon Robinson said. "There's still lots and lots of struggles in this world and it's a very complicated place. Jackie Robinson showed us you can stand up, be strong and be respected, and play great ball under tremendous pressure."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How could baseball affect civil rights?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (28)
  • Preeia-jet
    4/24/2017 - 12:17 p.m.

    It affect a lot of people,because just say it not about color..but playing the game u love.

    • Derrick-jet
      4/24/2017 - 12:44 p.m.

      Wrong

  • Quavon-jet
    4/24/2017 - 12:21 p.m.

    By Jackie Robinson playing baseball he helped out a lot of black African American to play baseball with whites

  • Karlee-jet
    4/24/2017 - 12:24 p.m.

    Baseball affect civil rights right ,

  • Shyhirah-jet
    4/24/2017 - 12:35 p.m.

    Jackie Robinson head a dream to play basketball and he did. By him playing basketball he changed the race

  • Derrick-jet
    4/24/2017 - 12:43 p.m.

    Baseball can affect civil rights because it won't be fair to black people if they don't have the right too play sports as the whites do.

  • lukej1-pla
    4/28/2017 - 02:46 p.m.

    The article describes a statue of Jackie Robinson that has been erected outside Dodger Stadium. The statue is 77 inches tall and is one of only two statues of Robinson (out of a total of eight) that depict him actually playing baseball. The rest of them portray Robinson doing other social or community activities as a way of expressing his involvement in his community outside the world of baseball. The rest of his family gathered to dedicate the statue, which had three quotes from Jackie engraved below his likeness.

    I don't really consider myself a fan of baseball but I felt that this article represents an important part of the history of not only baseball, but civil rights in general. Jackie Robinson's bravery in becoming the first black man to play Major League Baseball was a huge milestone in the civil rights movement and it's important that we remember moments such as these as our society uses them to progress even further into acceptance and unity.

  • irisp-ste
    5/01/2017 - 11:11 a.m.

    Baseball affected civil rights by proving that people of any color can show support for a game and even play among one another with equally impressive skills. Baseball was one of the first gateways to show that African Americans belonged in the same world as whites. Jackie Robinson made strides in not only baseball, but human rights.

  • jareds-cel
    5/03/2017 - 09:57 a.m.

    Baseball can positively and negatively affect the way civil rights are influenced. Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier was the true start and had a big turning point on the severity of racism and it's impact on America's society. With baseball being referred to as America's past time, it's a good thing that this color barrier was broken on the big stage and showed all Americans that everybody is equal.

  • piersonw-cel
    5/03/2017 - 10:36 a.m.

    Jackie Robinson was the first black man to play in the major leagues, ending six decades of racial segregation.

  • TBrown-ing
    5/03/2017 - 01:37 p.m.

    Jackie Robinson has always been a innovator, and the more ways to remember him the better.

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