Here are the game notes and lineup for tonight’s game. We hope to see you all out here for the celebration of Jackie Robinson and if you haven’t read the post from earlier today, be sure to scroll down.
JACKIE ROBINSON DAY – On this date in 1947, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play in a Major League Baseball game. To mark the 60th anniversary of the momentous day, every Major League stadium with a home game today is taking part in the national celebration of Jackie Robinson Day. Among the noteworthy dignitaries here today are Robinson’s wife, Rachel and children, Sharon and David, grandson Jesse Simms, Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Home Run King Henry Aaron, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, former Brooklyn Dodger teammate Don Newcombe and several others.
STARTED IN MONTREAL – Upon being signed by the Dodgers, Jackie Robinson played for the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate. Russell Martin Sr. would watch those games and pass on stories to his son, Russell Martin Jr., another Montreal native. The younger Martin now catches for the Dodgers and has a six-game hitting streak.
A SIGN FROM JACKIE – Dodger center fielder Juan Pierre has a framed portrait of Jackie Robinson in his home in Florida and even did a book report on the late Hall of Famer in elementary school. When he was a free agent this winter, Pierre admitted to thinking that it was a sign that the Dodgers, Robinson’s old franchise, were courting him.
SOMETHING SPECIAL – There are nine Hall of Famers at Dodger Stadium tonight: Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Eddie Murray, Ernie Banks, Dave Winfield, Joe Morgan, Vin Scully, Jaime Jarrin and Jerry Coleman. Dodger Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda is in New York, where he is hosting the Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards. There are four members of the 500 home run club here tonight – Aaron (755), Robinson (586), Banks (512) and Murray (504).
NO. 42 – Every Dodger player and coach will wear No. 42 tonight to honor Jackie Robinson. This marks the first time that any Dodger will wear the uniform since 1969 when it was worn by Ray Lamb. The only other Dodger besides Lamb and Robinson to wear the number since 1932 when club records begin was George Jeffcoat in 1939. Robinson’s number was retired by the Dodgers on June 4, 1972 and was retired throughout Major League Baseball in 1997 on the 50th anniversary of his breaking the color barrier.
A SPECIAL TRIBUTE – Dodger pitcher Brett Tomko, an accomplished artist, drew a charcoal sketch of Jackie Robinson stealing home during Spring Training and the artwork was reproduced and given out to the first 50,000 fans in attendance at tonight’s game.
FOR MORE INFORMATION – Not only does Jackie Robinson’s image grace the cover of the Dodgers’ 2007 Information Guide, but a special tribute page is dedicated to him on Pg. 42. The bio on that page is done in the format of this year’s guide but is intended to show what it would have looked like in the 1947 Media Guide. More information about Robinson can be found on pg. 359 of the Information Guide.
STARTING THE TREND – Jackie Robinson was named the National League’s first Rookie of the Year in 1947. Since then, 16 Dodgers have won the award, which now bears his name, which is twice as many as any other team in baseball. For a list of those R.O.Y. winners, see pg. 317 of the Information Guide.
A CHECK OF THE RECORD BOOKS – Though he retired 51 years ago, Jackie Robinson remains on numerous franchise lists. He ranks sixth all-time among Dodgers in walks (740), seventh in runs (947), 10th in extra-base hits (464) and tied for 10th in batting average (.311). His .438 on-base percentage in 1949 is third on the single-season franchise list and his 28 sacrifice hits are the most by a Dodger rookie and tied for the Major League record. Robinson hit 80 homers as a second baseman, leaving him second on that list behind Davey Lopes.
BROOKLYN TIES – Among the current Dodger employees who saw Jackie Robinson play at Ebbets Field are Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully and longtime traveling secretary Billy DeLury, who both worked for the team in Brooklyn. Growing up there at the time was current Dodger broadcaster Charley Steiner and longtime Dodger Stadium Press Box Chef Dave Pearson, who were both fans of the team.
MANNY MEMORIES OF JACKIE – On the official Dodger Spanish-language website, www.losdodgers.com, longtime Dodger player and coach Manny Mota shared his memories of Jackie Robinson on the new blog, Detrás de los Dodgers.
TALL WALLS – Two 63-foot murals on the sides of Dodger Stadium beyond center field were unveiled this weekend with images of Jackie Robinson as the team celebrates the 60th anniversary of his groundbreaking achievement.