MLB to host Robinson's 60th anniversary

Major League Baseball announced its plans to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson's entry into the Major Leagues that broke baseball's color barrier. On April 15, 1947, as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson played his first Major League game at Ebbets Field. Commissioner Bud Selig has called Robinson's historic achievement: "Baseball's proudest and most powerful moment."

The national celebration will take place at Dodger Stadium on April 15, 2007, the league's official "Jackie Robinson Day," with a VIP-filled reception and on-field ceremony prior to the game between the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers. Additional details of the special League-wide, on-field recognition of Jackie Robinson's legacy will be unveiled at a later date.

The ceremony and game will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes at 8 p.m. ET and will also be carried on XM satellite radio. Rachel Robinson, Jackie's wife and Jackie Robinson Foundation founder, along with Jackie's daughter, author Sharon Robinson, will join Jackie's former teammates, baseball executives, civic and industry leaders, and Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars in the festivities. The Jackie Robinson Foundation provides four-year college scholarships to academically distinguished minority students with records of academic distinction and leadership capacity. It strives to cultivate future leaders who will be ambassadors of Jackie Robinson's guiding life tenet, "A life is not important except in its impact on other lives."

All Major League Baseball business units will play a role in the 60th anniversary celebration. Clubs playing at home on Sunday, April 15 will commemorate Jackie Robinson Day with special pregame ceremonies in their ballparks, some of which will feature Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars and will showcase activities that reflect Robinson's legacy.

Major League Baseball also will produce a multimedia promotional advertising campaign to debut during Black History Month. Marketing and advertising efforts will include TV, radio, and print. Advertising will run in ballparks and online at MLB.com. MLB Productions will produce segments that feature former and current Major Leaguers recounting Robinson and the great influence he had on their lives and careers. The segments will air in the weeks prior to "Jackie Robinson Day" on This Week in Baseball. Other commemorative activities are in development, and will be announced closer to the event date.

"Baseball became the true national pastime when Jackie Robinson first set foot on a Major League Baseball field," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "Major League Baseball has not forgotten the incredible contribution and sacrifice that he made, and I am pleased that we have this opportunity to honor the 60th Anniversary of this historic moment. Jackie's legacy has inspired so many of our players over the last 60 years and I believe that his influence will continue to be felt for decades to come."

The 60th Anniversary program is another in a series of steps taken by Major League Baseball to recognize Robinson's impact on the game and to make sure it is never forgotten. Now in its fourth year, the league-wide "Jackie Robinson Day" was one of the first programs to result from The Commissioner's Initiative: Major League Baseball in the 21st Century, which examined the state of Major League Baseball and determined ways to improve it for its fans. In 1997, MLB celebrated the 50th Anniversary by retiring Robinson's uniform number - 42 - throughout the league, the only number in Baseball history retired leaguewide.

"On behalf of the Jackie Robinson Foundation and my family, we are honored to join Major League Baseball in the 60th Anniversary celebration of my husband's legacy," said Rachel Robinson. "Nothing could make me happier than to reflect on the tremendous achievements that he and other African-American players have made. We must not forget this vital piece of history and the cultural importance of baseball as we look to our youth to become more actively involved in making a difference."

Major League Baseball has created and annually supports a number of programs that ensure Jackie Robinson's legacy lives on including Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), Diverse Business Partners, and the Urban Youth Academy. The Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life program, which is marking its 10th Anniversary in 2007, was developed by Major League Baseball, Sharon Robinson and Scholastic, Inc., as a multi-cultural program teaching children in grades 4-6 the values and traits they need to deal with the barriers, obstacles, and challenges in their lives. Since its inception, Breaking Barriers has reached more than 14 million students in Major League and Minor League Baseball markets in the United States and Canada.

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