College baseball: UCLA honors Jackie Robinson Day with throwback uniforms

Posted April 16, 2017

"I was born in '49, but it had to be '50-something, watching the Dodgers, listening to my dad - the old movie, "The Jackie Robinson Story", you know, with Ruby Dee, in black and white, and that's what I probably first remember". MVP awards, All-Star selections and championships recognized his skills as a player.

Jackie Robinson was a father, a husband, a baseball player, a civil rights leader and a role model. That's where the Georgia-born Jackie grew up and first became a four-sport standout in football, basketball, track and baseball at John Muir High.

Instead, the bronze artwork captures Robinson sliding during a steal of home, something he did 19 times in his career, including once in the 1955 World Series, a play that resulted in Yankee catcher Yogi Berra famously going bonkers.

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On the back reads Robinson's No. 42.

My father and I watched many baseball games together, including those first games that Strawberry played for the New York Mets during his rookie season in 1983.

The statue is located in the left field reserve plaza with a view of downtown Los Angeles and Elysian Park. Weighing in at over 700 pounds, the statue will be secured with a steel rod and is said to have three quotes chosen by Robinson's family. Now 94, widow Rachel Robinson is traveling from the East Coast to attend the unveiling along with daughter Sharon and son David.

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Still, it's important to celebrate "Jackie Robinson Day" as both a tribute to a great American and a continuing reminder of a time when the game disgraced itself by keeping a large segment of our population from taking part in something that billed itself as the national pastime.

"They really wanted me to get the likeness and I assured them I'd be working very hard on that", he said.

That's quite a star-studded cast that will be on hand to honor Jackie Robinson and share the moment with his family.

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First look at the new Jackie Robinson statue.