Jackie Robinson will be immortalized at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, which is set to add a life-sized Robinson sculpture to its exhibits. The sculpture will be unveiled on Thursday, May 12 at 11:00 a.m. as part of a ceremony at the museum.
As the first African-American major leaguer in the 20th century, Robinson broke the color barrier in the big leagues. Over the course of his Hall-of-Fame career, Robinson faced-down racism and inspired millions of people. After retiring from baseball, he was dedicated to the advancement of civil rights and remained active and vocal on the issue until his death in 1972 at the age of 53.
“Jackie Robinson was the overwhelming choice of our guests for our next player sculpture,” said Anne Jewell, VP and Executive Director at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. “His influence still resonates across generations, and there is still work to be done on the issues he confronted. We were thrilled when his wife, Rachel Robinson, gave her approval for this sculpture, and we’re honored to help keep his legacy alive.”
Mrs. Robinson was involved with viewing and approving the early conceptual renderings of the sculpture, and even provided the creators of the piece, LifeFormations, with her husband’s shoe size so every inch of the artwork would be as accurate as possible. “We are eagerly looking forward to the completion of the project,” said Mrs. Robinson.
“Breaking Barriers” Collaboration with Frazier History Museum
The unveiling ceremony will include the premiere of an original live portrayal of Jackie Robinson in 1946, when he was about to be called up to the majors by the Brooklyn Dodgers, and just after his appearance in Louisville during the Junior World Series. Entitled Breaking Barriers, the 5-minute performance is a collaboration with the museum’s Main Street neighbor, the Frazier History Museum and will continue throughout the summer. Frazier Teaching Artist, Brian West, will portray Robinson several times a week for guests at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.
To welcome the Jackie Robinson sculpture, the museum kicks-off a special celebration. A bat believed to be the earliest known Jackie Robinson game-used bat will be removed from its case so guests can hold it throughout the weekend. Additional displays and programming include Robinson’s signed contract and bat order record card with Louisville Slugger, a baseball signed by Jackie Robinson and archival photographs and publications.
The other player sculptures in the museum are baseball legends Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Ken Griffey, Jr. and Derek Jeter. The creation and installation of the Jackie Robinson sculpture coincides with Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory’s 20th Anniversary Year.