Dodgers spend Jackie Robinson Day honoring baseball legend’s courage and legacy

Students, faculty and special guests attend a Jackie Robinson mural tribute held at John Muir High School in Pasadena.
Students, faculty and special guests attend a Jackie Robinson mural tribute held at John Muir High School in Pasadena on Friday. The Dodgers celebrated the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier before their 3-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

All 30 Major League Baseball clubs celebrated the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson Day on Friday.

But no team did it quite like the Dodgers.

In the morning, David Price and Mookie Betts were out in the community; Price at Longfellow Elementary School in Pasadena, reading the book “I Am Jackie Robinson” to students; Betts at Robinson’s nearby alma mater, John Muir High School, helping unveil a mural of Robinson in the campus’ courtyard.

MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson Day on Friday, which is the 75th anniversary of the Dodgers legend breaking baseball’s color barrier. Here’s our coverage.

April 15, 2022

“Walking around and seeing where he played baseball and where he walked to class, it’s just neat,” Betts said. “[The whole day] is kind of like a holiday here. It’s a holiday everywhere, but it’s a little more here.”

In the afternoon, the team donned its No. 42 jerseys and walked to the center-field plaza at Dodger Stadium, gathering around a statue of Robinson during an address from his son, David.


“To have David here today, knowing that there’s going to be 42 jerseys all over the ballpark and everyone in baseball is going to be wearing blue jerseys with the No. 42, it’s special,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “What he did was incredible, but we’ve got to do him right by keep going.”

Rachel Robinson, wife of Jackie Robinson, speaks with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts before Friday's game at Dodger Stadium.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

And after an on-field pregame ceremony that included Robinson’s 99-year-old widow, Rachel, the Dodgers secured their fourth straight win, too, beating the Cincinnati Reds 3-1 to improve to 5-2 on the season.

As they did the first time through the rotation, Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson combined for a strong night on the mound. Gonsolin pitched four scoreless innings, stranding all six runners who reached. Then Anderson piggybacked with a four-inning, one-run relief appearance.

“It’s been kind of nice,” Gonsolin said. “Me and TA have built a lot better relationship going after one another. Going into these games, we’re like, ‘Hey, let’s get this whole game today.’”

They almost did, leaving only the ninth inning for closer Craig Kimbrel, who picked up his first save at Dodger Stadium since being acquired by the team at the end of spring training.


The offense, meanwhile, manufactured runs in the second, a Chris Taylor RBI single; in the third, a Trea Turner RBI triple; and the fifth, a bases-loaded walk from Justin Turner in an inning that began with a Gavin Lux triple.

Dodgers relief pitcher Tyler Anderson throws during the fourth inning of a 3-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Trea Turner had two hits on the night, extending his hitting streak to 26 games stretching to last season.

“Wow,” Roberts said when informed of Turner’s streak, which is five games shy of the club record. “It’s pretty impressive.”

Lux reached base three times, raising his early-season batting average to a team-best .381.

“It’s really fun watching Gavin kind of put it together right now,” Roberts said.

Still, Friday was the rare night memories of the past — and hopes for the future — loomed just as large as results in the present.


Seventy-five years after Jackie Robinson debuted for the Dodgers to break baseball’s color barrier, Roberts contemplated a host of issues during his pregame media scrum.

Dodgers players wear No. 42, in honor of Jackie Robinson, while listening to the singing of the national anthem.
Dodgers players wear No. 42, in honor of Jackie Robinson, while listening to the singing of the national anthem before Friday’s game.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

He noted the barriers standing before Black players hoping to reach the big leagues, resulting in part from MLB’s decision to cut down on the size of farm systems and the length of the draft.
“In 2022, I wouldn’t have been drafted,” Roberts, a 28th-round selection in 1994 before going onto a 10-year career, said of the new 20-round draft. “The farm teams cut down, I think that limits opportunities for all kids to continue to develop.”

As one of only two Black managers in baseball, Roberts was also asked about the lack of diversity at the coaching and front-office levels.

“We’re on it,” he said. “I’m on a [diversity, equity and inclusion] committee with Major League Baseball, trying to place people of color, gender, in kind of a pipeline program, a diversity pipeline. We’re on college campuses trying to recruit the right people.

“But it’s hard because when you go to college, you have an opportunity to earn a living really quickly. In baseball the industry … you’ve got to start from the bottom.”

David Robinson, son of Jackie Robinson, speaks to Dodgers players and staff.
David Robinson, son of Jackie Robinson, speaks to Dodgers players and staff while standing near a statue of his father outside Dodger Stadium on Friday afternoon.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

However, he noted that promoting such changes is as much a part of Jackie Robinson Day now as remembrances of his legacy.

“To appreciate how far we’ve come is certainly fair, but more importantly is where we need to go,” Roberts said. “That’s what kind of pushes and challenges all of us to keep getting better and to make change.”

Added David Robinson: “Players are stepping up to be more than just the athlete, representing human values, human concerns, and continuing to change the attitude and beliefs and thoughts of the American public, and it’s a good thing. So stay the course. But enhance the plan, and possibly we will all be better.”