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
Lexile

He was the first black man to play in baseball's major leagues. His first appearance in a game ended six decades of racial segregation in the big leagues. Before Robinson, no black players were allowed in the majors.
 
He also was 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. The day marked the 70th anniversary of his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
 
Since 2004, baseball has honored Robinson's barrier-breaking career every April. It is 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. Robinson starred when the team was in Brooklyn.
 
"He just felt it was an idea whose time had come," said Janet Marie Smith. She is the team's senior vice president of planning and development.
 
The bronze statue is 77 inches tall. It depicts Robinson as a rookie in 1947. He is portrayed stealing home. It is a nod to his aggressive baserunning. The statue weighs 700 pounds and is secured with a 150-pound steel rod. It stands in the left field reserve plaza. Views of downtown Los Angeles can be seen 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. The park opened 55 years ago.
 
On the statue's granite base are three of Robinson's quotes. They were chosen by the family. One is 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. 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. Daughter Sharon and son David also attended. The Robinsons' had one other son, Jackie Jr. He 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. It is the most of any American athlete. This is 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. Their list is part of their Sporting Statues Project database.
 
They found just two of his existing statues depict him playing baseball. 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."

Filed Under:  
Assigned 221 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How could baseball affect civil rights?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (16)
  • samanthas-1-ste
    4/20/2017 - 01:32 p.m.

    Baseball was America's game. The mix of race would then unite basically both sides even if some didnt like it. I love Jackie Robinson and think he was very brave for what he did.

  • austinb6-har
    4/20/2017 - 02:35 p.m.

    Baseball can affect civil rights by not allowing Hispanic's or blacks to play baseball or even Cuban or Japanese players. Another reason it could affect civil rights by being mean to different to cultures and different races. But like in the U.S. in Europe they play cricket or soccer. So that is why baseball affects civil rights.

  • alis-har
    4/20/2017 - 08:45 p.m.

    Baseball could affect civil rights by not letting black people play baseball or not letting white people play baseball because it would not be equal rights. When people make it that way there is only a white people baseball team or a black people team then that is not being equal with everyone.

  • zavierm-har
    4/20/2017 - 09:57 p.m.

    Baseball affected civil rights in multiple ways. The first way is that baseball was and still is considered America's number one past-time and sport. This along meant that seeing an African American play baseball influenced people to believe that race did not matter. Secondly, this inspired more people to want people of different races to play baseball and made a path to eventually allowing anyone of any race to play. This showed many people that race did not matter in baseball, and in life.

  • grantl-bur
    4/20/2017 - 10:09 p.m.

    Baseball could affect civil rights by showing a different race is no different then another race athletically and mentally. Personally, Jackson Robinson color barrier breaking was a very important moment not only to baseball, but society as well. The text says."Before Robinson, no black players were allowed in the majors." This means he made history and started a path for other African-American baseball players after his era. All in all, it is clear Jackie made movements and changes in future MLB rules and regulations.

  • nathanm-ver
    4/21/2017 - 09:15 a.m.

    I think it's right for Los Angeles to do something like that especially back then when they even let him play on the Dodgers. Baseball is one of Americas most popular sports and to mix the race is wonderful. He was very brave for joining and not giving up just because of the hate he got. One hundred percent I'm with this all the way Jackie was a role model and he deserves to be honored and recognized so I think it's great they put a statue of him up.

  • handroh-ver
    4/21/2017 - 10:05 a.m.

    This is awesome,because he is a big part of baseball history.I personally think he deserved this after what he has gone through his days and he is one of the most respected baseball player of all-time.

  • marvinb-ver
    4/21/2017 - 10:14 a.m.

    I thought it was a great thing to honor the first black person to play baseball, and help with the civil rights movement, no offence the national baseball team, but to be honest I kind of feel like they did it late he's gone it would've made him feel great if he would've seen it but his legacy lives on

  • hayleel-ste
    4/21/2017 - 12:53 p.m.

    Baseball was a loved sport and still is today for America. Personally I believe he was very brave for what he did that he deserves the statue.

  • jordanb2-ver
    4/21/2017 - 03:17 p.m.

    baseball is one american sport that is fun for all

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT