As many MLB teams are celebrating their season openers, an even bigger date has arrived.
Today, April 15, marks 75 years since Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier. It all began when he started first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and has grown into everyone celebrating the monumental moments across the MLB and across the country.
In New York, part of 42nd Street will be temporarily renamed Jackie Robinson Way, and the Empire State Building will glow blue and white with his No. 42. On the West Coast, his wife Rachel will attend the Dodgers-Reds game, and the team will pay tribute at his statue. Most importantly, in his birthplace of Cairo, Georgia, the hometown Braves’ World Series trophy will be on display at the Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club.
Mookie Betts, who plays for the beloved Dodgers, believes that Robinson’s electric career should prevent anyone from ever wearing the number 42 again.
“It’s almost like you don’t want to wear it. Like, I feel like even though everybody’s wearing it at the same time, I feel like nobody should wear it. And just because, you know, people just know Jackie Robinson, he broke the color barrier,” he said. “But people like myself who know so many stories and know so much that he went through, and being Black, it’s like nah, no, I don’t think anybody should wear it. I think it should be retired up in every stadium.”
Robinson’s extraordinary life was also highlighted in the 2013 film 42, with the late Chadwick Boseman playing the baseball legend. Boseman spoke on the responsibility of playing such an important role.
“I definitely felt the responsibility going into it. I felt more responsibility to [Jackie’s widow] Rachel Robinson than I did to anyone else. Everyone had their own opinions and reasons why he is a hero to them,” he told Vanity Fair. “People would meet me, call me, text me, e-mail me, Facebook-message me, and tell me, “I hear you’re playing my hero.” When that happens, you know that all of those people are going to have an opinion and feelings that you have to live up to. But I just thought, Let me just focus on the truth.”