04/12/2005 3:35 PM ET
Los Angeles Dodgers to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium
Dodgers to wear historic "Brooklyn" jerseys during April 15 game. Fans to have opportunity to bid on and purchase jerseys through online auction supporting Dodgers Dream Foundation and Jackie Robinson Foundation
LOS ANGELES - The defending National League Western Division champion Los Angeles Dodgers announced today they will join the entire Los Angeles community and Major League Baseball in celebrating Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium on Friday, April 15. The date marks the 58th anniversary of the Hall of Fame infielder breaking baseball's color barrier.
During the April 15 game against the San Diego Padres, the Dodgers will don "BROOKLYN" jerseys as a special tribute to Robinson and the 1955 Dodgers, who 50 years ago captured the first World Series in team history. The script-letter styled "BROOKLYN" jerseys originally were used by the Dodgers for road games from 1939-45. The jerseys worn during the April 15 game will be auctioned to fans online at MLB.com and www.dodgers.com later this month, with proceeds supporting the Dodgers Dream Foundation and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
"Jackie Robinson was bigger than life. He shattered baseball's color barrier, thrilled fans countless times and changed the face of the nation. I know I speak for the entire Los Angeles Dodgers organization when I say that we are proud and honored that Jackie wore our uniform and plays a central role in our long and rich heritage," said Dodger Vice Chairman Jamie McCourt. "We are delighted to host Rachel, Sharon, and the Jackie Robinson Foundation at Dodger Stadium on this very special day. There is no question that Jackie holds a very special place in the heart and spirit of every member of the Dodger family."
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission will begin the festivities to honor Jackie Robinson by hosting a special ceremony to unveil a plaque on Thursday, April 14 at 2 p.m. Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will emcee the event that will be attended by local civic and community leaders, as well as representatives from the Los Angeles Dodgers, including Vice Chairman Jamie McCourt.
There will also be several activities throughout Southern California on Friday, April 15, beginning with a 10 a.m. ceremony at Los Angeles City Hall to proclaim "Jackie Robinson Day." Dodger Chairman Frank McCourt and Vice Chairman Jamie McCourt, as well as President and COO of the Jackie Robinson Foundation Della Britton Baeza will be in attendance at the City Hall ceremony.
Sharon Robinson, Jackie's daughter, will help kick off the "Join the Major Leagues at the Library" program with 50 students from local middle schools at the Echo Park Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library on 1410 W. Temple Street in Los Angeles at 11 a.m. on Friday.
Later in the day, Dodger executives, Major League Baseball officials and Rachel Robinson, Jackie's widow and the founder of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, will host a press conference at 5:45 p.m. at Dodger Stadium on the Club Level directly behind the Vin Scully Press Box.
Pregame ceremonies at Dodger Stadium will feature this year's Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars and the national anthem will be performed by 2003 "American Idol" Ruben Studdard.
In addition, the first 50,000 fans in attendance at Dodger Stadium for the April 15 game will receive a Jackie Robinson action statue. The statue features Robinson in one of his classic slides into home plate, and will likely become a treasured collector's item.
The Dodgers' salute to Robinson is part of the Second Annual Jackie Robinson Day, recognized in every Major League ballpark throughout the nation. In 1997, Robinson's uniform No. 42 was retired by all Major League Baseball teams.
Overall, Robinson compiled a lifetime .311 batting average with the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947-56. He was the Major League's first Rookie of the Year, an award which today bears his name. Robinson was the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1949 and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
Last season, the Dodgers set a combined attendance record, as more than six million fans watched Dodger baseball at home and on the road. To date, the Dodgers have sold more than 2.2 million tickets for the 2005 home schedule, with seats still available to nearly every Dodger home game by calling (866) DODGERS, visiting www.dodgers.com or at any Ticketmaster outlet.