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

Jackie Robinson's legacy continues to influence Major League Baseball 75 years after he first broke the league's color barrier.
NEW YORK -- Players across Major League Baseball are donning Jackie Robinson's No. 42 - and all of them in Dodger blue this year - for the 75th anniversary of Robinson's big league debut.

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

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

Earlier in the day, David Robinson read the book "I Am Jackie Robinson" at Longfellow Elementary School in Pasadena, California, where Robinson grew up.

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

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

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

Robinson was a star from the moment he stepped on the field, excelling despite an environment of hatred and abuse from other players and fans.

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

Players, managers and umpires all wear No. 42 every April 15, and each team pays tribute to Robinson in its own way.

This year, the 75th anniversary of Robinson's first Opening Day, is a special one.

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

(ESPN and the Associated Press contributed to this report)
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