Saturday is Jackie Robinson Day across baseball, marking 70 years since he shattered the game’s color barrier. Teams across the league will honor Robinson, whose legacy remains strong to this day.
Robinson debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 at Ebbets Field in Flatbush. Although the ballpark was razed decades ago, his name and history is all over the Big Apple.
His home on Tilden Avenue — where he lived during his first seasons in Brooklyn — was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976, four years after his death at 53. Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem has brought together the community for generations, and the Interboro Parkway was renamed in Robinson’s honor in 1997, the same year baseball retired his uniform No. 42 leaguewide.
The Mets honored his accomplishments with the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at Citi Field, a showcase of his contributions and legacy on and off the field. Finally, after years of fundraising efforts, construction on the Jackie Robinson Museum is set to begin on Varick Street.
Trailblazer for diversity
When Robinson first stepped onto the field as a major leaguer, the oppression of Jim Crow was still an unfortunate reality in the South. Black athletes struggled for opportunities across the sports world, let alone in baseball.
But Robinson’s milestone was part of a movement in professional sports. Kenny Washington broke the NFL color barrier a year earlier, and the NBA integrated in 1950. Today, dozens of African-Americans, including Robinson, are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.