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Jackie Robinson Day: MLB celebrates trailblazing star 75 years after debut

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball players are wearing Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 — and all in Dodger blue this year — for the 75th anniversary of Robinson’s big league debut.

In New York, Commissioner Rob Manfred will host an event for the city’s young baseball players in Times Square with special guests Ken Griffey Jr., Mariano Rivera, CC Sabathia, Joe Torre, Willie Randolph and Butch Huskey.

The Dodgers will of course be at home in Los Angeles, facing the Cincinnati Reds. They will be joined by Robinson’s widow Rachel, 99, and her son David.

Earlier today, David Robinson will read the book “I Am Jackie Robinson” at Longfellow Elementary School in Pasadena, Calif., where Robinson grew up.

He will be joined by Robinson’s granddaughter Ayo, pitcher David Price and Players Alliance founders Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.

Outfielder Mookie Betts will join the Robinson family at nearby John Muir High for the unveiling of a mural of Robinson. He played football, basketball, baseball and school track in Pasadena in the 1930s.

Jackie Robinson’s legacy continues to influence Major League Baseball 75 years after he first crossed the league color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Robinson was a star from the moment he stepped onto the pitch, excelling despite an environment of hate and abuse from fellow players and fans.

Baseball retired Robinson’s No. 42 league-wide in 1997, and in 2004 established Jackie Robinson Day, in which the league would honor his memory on the anniversary of his debut on April 15, 1947. .

Players, managers and referees all wear the number 42 every April 15, and each team pays tribute to Robinson in their own way.

This year, the 75th anniversary of Robinson’s first day of operation is special.

“Robinson spent his later life weaving his impact into other areas of American life,” wrote Doug Glanville, writer and former ESPN player. “He had no intention of stopping progress at first base, and his post-baseball efforts became an extension of his Hall of Fame career, striking the conscience of the boardroom, the political elite and institutions of power, including MLB.”

(ESPN and Associated Press contributed to this report)

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