Published: Sun, April 16, 2017
Health Care | By Jan Bell

Sliding home: Jackie Robinson gets statue at Dodger Stadium

With Saturday marking the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier, the Los Angeles Dodgers have big plans to honor Robinson's legacy. That Strawberry is still so recognizable nearly 20 years after his retirement speaks to an era in which baseball really was America's pastime, and possessed stars who transcended the sport.

Tomorrow, April 15th is Jackie Robinson Day, a day honoring the man who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball and a day that has special meaning locally. To me April 15th should be a national holiday-Jackie Robinson Day because his courage and determination coupled with his ability to withstand so much so others could benefit is a constant inspiration to all of us. Like most of her generation of African-Americans, baseball is not a "thing".

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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. Here he is 70 years later being recognized.

Robinson attended UCLA from 1939-41 and was a four-sport athlete in baseball, track and field, basketball and football.

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He was acquitted Friday of murder, armed assault with intent to murder and other charges but was convicted of a gun charge. A few moments later, he looked back at his fiancee and nodded somberly as relatives of the victims sobbed loudly.

I go back now to photos of Robinson, on that day in Cincinnati in the autumn of 1972. It stands in the left field reserve plaza, with sweeping views of downtown Los Angeles in one direction and Elysian Park in the other.

"So, it's great to think about it and to hold the guys in high esteem but every day is Jackie Robinson Day to me". He hit.297 and won the first Rookie of the Year Award. "I want to get out and do more community stuff throughout the year, target the youth and let them know to not to give up on your dreams".

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The end product is the result of the artist and the Robinsons working with the very unity Jackie embodied. Campanis also tutored Robinson on how to protect himself when opposing players tried to spike him, which happened more often because he was black.

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