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New Mission for Dodgertown: Jackie Robinson Training Complex

Historic Dodgertown press conference

The former spring-training home of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers in Vero Beach, FL–Historic Dodgertown–will be renamed Jackie Robinson Training Complex under new MLB management.

Dodgertown consists of training facilities and Holman Stadium, opening in 1948 as the spring home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Over the years it was expanded, but when the Los Angeles Dodgers moved spring operations to Arizona in 2008, the city and partners (including Minor League Baseball and a group led by the O’Malley family) have worked to find an alternative use to the site.

Now, Major League Baseball is stepping in to transform the new Jackie Robinson Training Complex into a year-round hub of amateur development initiatives and events designed to diversify and strengthen the talent pipelines of baseball and softball.

The announcement was made at a press conference attended by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, Jr., former Historic Dodgertown Chairman and Dodger Owner Peter O’Malley, and members of the Robinson Family, including Rachel, Sharon and David–Jackie’s wife, daughter and son, respectively.

MLB, which assumed operational control of the facility on January 2, will immediately begin planning a series of youth-focused events, which come at no cost to the participants, at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex. These events, which are scheduled throughout the summer in 2019 in conjunction with the sports’ governing bodies, include the following:

  • Baseball Breakthrough Series East (w/ USA Baseball) – June 6-10
  • Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series (w/ USA Baseball) – June 14-18
  • Softball Elite Development Invitational (w/ USA Softball) – July 12-16
  • Hank Aaron Invitational (w/ USA Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association) – July 21-August 2
  • RBI Baseball & Softball World Series – August 4-15

MLB will soon begin renovations on the Jackie Robinson Training Complex, which will most prominently include a new indoor training facility that will allow consistent training and workout opportunities for young athletes, as well as improvements to Holman Stadium. Additional renovations will be announced at a later date. Currently, the Jackie Robinson Training Complex features Holman Stadium (6,500-seat capacity; shown above), four additional full-size baseball fields, one half field (90-foot base paths, no outfield), four softball and youth baseball fields, eight indoor and lighted batting/pitching tunnels, four outdoor batting tunnels with pitching machines, 32 mounds and home plates for individual work, and a 60-yard agility and warm-up area.

“The Jackie Robinson Training Complex will honor the history and legacy of Dodgertown by fostering the development of the diverse collection of young men and women who are the future of our game,” Manfred said. “Our plans for the facility extend beyond the playing field and will include growth opportunities for the athletes as they learn about personal character and those who paved the way before them, especially Jackie. We believe those who play at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex will be among some of the most passionate and dedicated players in the country.”

The Robinson Family said: “We’re thrilled that MLB will rename Dodgertown after Jack. He was devoted to young people and we’re excited to know that boys and girls will come here to advance their baseball skills while learning to be compassionate, productive, well-educated adults.”

“Major League Baseball is the ideal leader for Dodgertown’s next chapter,” O’Malley said. “Commissioner Rob Manfred and his colleagues understand the historical significance of this unique place and they’ll do an excellent job being responsible for it. The people of Vero Beach and Indian River County will be very proud of having Major League Baseball members of their community.”

Opening as the first fully integrated spring-training site in the South during the time of Jim Crow Laws, the complex was recently added to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, a collection of churches, courthouses, schools, museums and other landmarks where activists challenged segregation in the 1950s and 1960s to advance social justice. It stands as the only sports property on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.  Most recently, the facility, which is also a Florida Heritage Landmark, has been used for youth baseball and other sport programs and events.

Photo (from left to right): Peter O’Malley, Rob Manfred Jr., Sharon Robinson, Rachel Robinson (seated), David Robinson and Peter O’Bryan unveil the new name of of Dodgertown during the press conference at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach on Tuesday, April 2, 2019 in Vero Beach, Florida. (Photo by Steven Martine/MLB Photos via Getty Images).

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