Published: Sun, April 16, 2017
Medical | By Dorothy Lyons

LEADING OFF: Dodgers to unveil Jackie Robinson statue

LEADING OFF: Dodgers to unveil Jackie Robinson statue

The first statue in Dodger Stadium history belongs to Jackie Robinson. It stands in the left field reserve plaza, with sweeping views of downtown Los Angeles in one direction and Elysian Park in the other.

Robinson attended UCLA from 1939-41 and was a four-sport athlete in baseball, track and field, basketball and football. Robinson retired in January, voiding the trade.

"It means to me that we talk about it every year [on] this day", Baker said, "but to me, no big deal, because every day is Jackie Robinson Day to me". Each season on April 15, all members of Major League Baseball wear uniforms sporting the number 42, Jackie's jersey number, in honor of his legacy.

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"It's emotional", Jackie Robinson's daughter Sharon said this week. Major League Baseball took notice years ago and invested millions of dollars in youth programs, and The Jackie Robinson Foundation also recognized the need. He used to come home and say, 'They gave me a standing ovation, ' and [he] was so shocked. "I don't know what he would think about what's going on now". To have my brother [David] here ...

"This is going to be a very special time", Sharon Robinson said. The slugger hit 156 homers in 982 games with St. Louis before signing a $13 million, one-year deal with NY in the offseason. It is inscribed with three Robinson quotes, none of which involve baseball but instead reference things such as respect and freedom. According to USA Today, the timing of the statue's debut couldn't be more imperative.

The 6-foot-5 tall bronze statue, by Oakland sculptor Branly Cadet, depicts Robinson as a rookie in 1947 sliding into home plate, a nod to his aggressive baserunning. My family watched every movie there was about Jackie Robinson. We didn't talk much about Robinson in those days, though as a student of African-American history and culture, Robinson's legacy became complicated as I fell under the sway of thinkers like Malcolm X, Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka and Stokeley Carmichael.

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