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MLB makes Take the Field donation
04/15/2004  5:53 PM ET
•  Presentation at Jackie Robinson Field:
56K | 350K

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball donated $1 million on Thursday to Take the Field, a public-private partnership that is rebuilding the athletic facilities of New York City public schools.

Commissioner Bud Selig made the formal presentation of a check in that amount during the commemoration of Jackie Robinson Field on the campus of Forest Hills High School, just a long fly ball away from Shea Stadium in the borough of Queens. The event preceded Jackie Robinson Day festivities prior to the Mets game against the Atlanta Braves.

The ceremony took place at home plate on the baseball field, which is part of a renovated complex that includes a softball field, soccer field, running track and tennis courts. It came during the daylong festivities surrounding the anniversary of Robinson playing his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking baseball's color line in 1947.

Jackie Robinson Day
Jackie Robinson Day
April 15, 2004
• Ceremony at Shea Stadium:
56K | 350K
• Commissioner Selig's comments: 56K | 350K
•'s Billy Sample at Shea: 56K | 350K
• Presentation at Jackie Robinson Field: 56K | 350K
• looks at his life and impact: 56K | 350K

"For the social ramifications it had, what Jackie Robinson did is probably one of the most significant events in baseball history," Selig said. "It's a major accomplishment to be commemorating this field in Jackie's name on the anniversary of the day he broke into the Major Leagues."

Take the Field was founded by Bob Tisch, owner of the National Football League's New York Giants, and is in the process of renovating 40 fields on the campuses of New York City's public schools. The Jackie Robinson Field was the 37th completed. Three more are under construction and are anticipated to be completed in time for the next school year.

The event was attended by local politicos and many members of the Forest Hills High School athletic teams, including the baseball team, clad in its blue and yellow uniforms. Tisch said Mets owner Fred Wilpon was also instrumental in the refurbishment of the latest facility, which has a rubberized track and artificial surface fields.

Wilpon, who was raised in Brooklyn -- the former home of the Dodgers -- was a high school pitcher himself and said he threw batting practice two summers for the Dodgers during the 1950s at Ebbets Field in Flatbush.

"I got to know Jackie and all of his family," Wilpon recalled before the festivities. "We used to play in neighborhoods on fields filled with rocks. I wish I had a chance to play on a surface like this. It's a fitting way to honor Jackie's memory."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.