The Daytona Tortugas (High A; Florida State League) have announced that they will wear a commemorative jersey as part of Jackie Robinson Night on April 15. The team made the announcement on March 17, the 71st anniversary of when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier by playing in his first integrated game in Daytona Beach.
On Saturday, April 15th, the Daytona Tortugas will take the field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, united by the Number nine. April 15th, designated Jackie Robinson Day throughout the United States, is widely celebrated throughout both Major and Minor League ballparks. Since 2009, all of Major League Baseball has worn the Number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day.
Daytona Beach was the first city in Florida to allow Jackie Robinson to play during the 1946 season, a year before his Big League debut. When Jacksonville and Sanford said no, Daytona Beach said yes to Jackie. While playing in this game, Jackie wore the #9. Therefore, both the #9 and #42 jerseys have been retired at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, renamed after him in 1989.
For the first time ever, Minor League Baseball has granted the entire Daytona Tortugas team permission to wear number 9 on Saturday, April 15th, 2017. While all of Major League Baseball, and select Minor League teams, don the #42, Daytona will stand alone once again with the number nine. The night will include a National Anthem performance by The Bethune Cookman University Choir, local HBCU, located here in Daytona Beach, FL. In 1946, Dr. Bethune played an integral part in pushing the City of Daytona to have Jackie visit and helped host him here.
The Tortugas will be giving away replica t-shirt’s to the first 1,000 fans celebrating the night. The night will be concluded with a Fireworks Show to celebrate where we stand 71 years later.
Today we celebrate the 71st anniversary of when Jackie Robinson first played on the same field that the Tortugas will take on April 15th, 2017.