With Major League Baseball shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, this season’s Jackie Robinson Day — the annual commemoration of Robinson breaking the MLB color line — is being marked on April 15 with a series of online events.
There is a lot going on, and we won’t cover it all here. For a full list of events, information on the educational resources, special Jackie Robinson Day content, a schedule of the day’s events, and more can be found on MLB.com/42. What’s in store: educational programs with the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Jackie-inspired social media content, archived footage, special broadcasts on MLB Network, and a celebrity DJ set. In addition, MLB clubs will host a series of activities, including digital roundtables with current & former major leaguers (e.g. Tim Anderson, Dee Gordon, Lewis Brinson, Charles Johnson, Cliff Floyd, etc.), community giving initiatives, educational platforms and more.
The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) will launch the new “Jackie Robinson Day Virtual Learning Hub,” a platform to deliver educational programming to educators and parents for students in grades K-12, at JRLegacy.org. Divided appropriately by age groups, the programming will address different aspects of Jackie’s life and legacy. The Hub will feature video vignettes of Jackie’s daughter, Sharon, as well as former MLB players (including CC Sabathia and MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds), reading excerpts of her book Jackie Robinson: American Hero. Additional resources will include conversational prompts for in-home discussion and more.
Finally, worth noting is the MLB.tv lineup of programming. Beginning at 7:00 a.m. ET, MLB.com will live stream 12 hours of Jackie Robinson-related programming:
- 7:00 a.m.: 2012 Jackie Robinson Day (Padres vs. Dodgers) with highlights including a home run by Matt Kemp, a triple play by the Dodgers defense, and a walk-off home run by Dee Gordon.
- 11:00 a.m.: 1955 World Series Film, highlighting the first World Series title in Dodger franchise history and the only championship in Brooklyn. The film also features Jackie’s famous steal of home against the New York Yankees.
- 12:00 p.m.: Letters To Jackie MLB Network special, which focuses on Jackie’s role in the American civil rights movement, primarily after he retired from baseball. The story is told in Jackie’s own words, with letters he wrote throughout his lifetime to his wife, Rachel, his children, pen pals and political figures such as President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
- 1:00 p.m.: April 15, 1997 Game & Ceremony at Shea Stadium (Dodgers vs. Mets) featuring the historic moment when Commissioner Emeritus Allan H. (Bud) Selig retired Jackie’s #42 league-wide alongside Rachel Robinson and President Bill Clinton, marking the 50th anniversary of Jackie breaking Baseball’s color barrier.
- 4:00 p.m.: 2019 Jackie Robinson Day (Mets vs. Phillies) with highlights including Commissioner Manfred and Jamie Foxx participating in the ceremonial first pitch, and Bryce Harper and Robinson Canó.
Photo of Jackie Robinson from LOOK magazine, via Library of Congress.