Dodgers unveil statue to trailblazer Robinson


It was quite possibly the most historic Opening Day that baseball has ever seen, and maybe will ever see. "But he's somebody we in the African-American community celebrate every day". And at the same time, they're forced to reckon with that fact that sometimes the most qualified people for a job are denied opportunity based on their race or ethnicity.

While a number of Robinson statues exist around the country, including those at UCLA and Pasadena, where he was born and raised, none had been commissioned by the Dodgers, until now.

Meanwhile, the Major League Baseball Players Association announced it will donate a fitting $42,000 from the Players Trust to the Jackie Robinson Foundation for the second straight year.

After 55 years, Dodger Stadium has a statue.

"It took certain qualities - courage, focus and precise timing - in order for someone to steal home plate", sculptor Branly Cadet said. Similarly, those qualities were required of anyone breaking the color line.

The statue will remain outside of the stadium's Left Field Reserve Plaza, which is one of the more heavily traversed areas of the park.

Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson, as well as his two children, Sharon and David Robinson were also in attendance, and together, the threesome counted down the moment where the blue curtain was dropped at the statue was unveiled to adoring fans and guests.

"This is going to be a very special time", Sharon Robinson said.

Yet there was little question that the comments of the 70-year-old Campanis on "Nightline" reflected archaic stereotypes about the intelligence and capabilities of African-Americans. "I'm just happy. I'm bubbling over". He is the first to be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium.

Just for the sake of comparison, Staples Center, which opened in 1999, last month welcomed its eighth statue, a dunking Shaquille O'Neal.

"Jackie Robinson will continue to be an inspiration for generations to come", said Holden. But Jackie made it work.

The family shared numerous photos of Robinson with Cadet.

Needless to say, Robinson's legacy on Saturday was getting its proper respect all around baseball.

"A life is not important", one of the quotes reads, "except in the impact it has on other lives".

But Robinson's impact goes far beyond his stats. In fact, Robinson has been rewritten as an apolitical hero we can all rally around (ignoring more complicated aspects of his ideology), so praising him is the opposite of a radical position.



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