Celebrating Jackie Robinson Day during COVID-19

Article by Lorenzo Serrato, Sports Editor

Photo courtesy

In recent months, our country has been negatively impacted by not just COVID-19, but the social injustice brought to light by the death of George Floyd. The return of baseball has not only given hope, but has shown that coming together, we can overcome the obstacles that 2020 has thrown our way.

Jackie Robinson is an American icon and hero who has paved the way for many black baseball players. His story is inspiring to many, and his contributions are still honored today.

Every year, Jackie Robinson Day is commemorated with players and coaches all wearing his number, No. 42, which was retired back in 1997. Since then, Yankees recent Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, was the last player to be seen wearing No. 42.

Jackie Robinson Day is typically celebrated April 15th, but with the pandemic halting the start of the MLB regular season, it was moved to August 28th. This special day was moved for a few meaningful reasons.

On August 28th, 1945, Jackie attended the March on Washington, where Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. gave the famous “I Have a Dream” speech. This is also the same day Jackie and the Brooklyn Dodgers agreed to terms on a contract, making him the first black MLB player. Both of these events made it fitting to move this day of celebration to August 28th.

In his career, Robinson carried a Batting Average of .311, compiled 1,518 hits, 137 home runs, and 734 Runs Batted In. In 1962, he was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and soon thereafter, the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year award was created. Because of his efforts, Jackie was able to end racial segregation once and for all in MLB. Jackie was also an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, in which he fought for the rights of all black athletes.

As many may also know, the passing of star actor Chadwick Boseman came on the same day as Jackie Robinson day, 7 years after shooting the movie, 42. This was a huge tragedy for many across the globe, as his impact both on and off the screen was heartfelt for many who enjoyed his work. Chadwick exemplified key moments that defined Jackie’s legacy in a dark time in American history.

While social injustice has brought our country to turmoil, honoring a selfless hero like Jackie can still draw inspiration today.