Each year on April 15, we take time to reflect on just what an incredible role Jackie Robinson played not only in the game of baseball, but in our society today. While the pregame ceremony at tonight’s game will be a moving part of the celebration, we are doing something else today that should really be special.
This morning at Crenshaw High School, 10 former, current and future Dodgers will take part in a panel discussion in front of the entire student body to help future generations understand just what this amazing Dodger and amazing person accomplished in his lifetime. Jackie’s teammate, Don Newcombe, will moderate the discussion, which also includes Tommy Davis, Maury Wills, “Sweet” Lou Johnson, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Marcus Thames, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Xavier Paul.
Trayvon Robinson, who went to Crenshaw High School, was excused from tonight’s game for Triple-A Albuquerque to take part in this event, which says something about how important today really is. As Jackie Robinson famously said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives” and 64 years after he first played for the Dodgers, he continues to impact us all every day.
There’s so much coverage out there right now about Duke Snider’s passing, it’s hard to fathom. Rightfully so, of course. He’s arguably the greatest offensive player in franchise history and holds so many team records it’s almost impossible to list them all.
But what’s also somewhat unique is just how long it’s been since we lost one of our legendary Dodgers. There are 10 uniforms retired and prior to yesterday, the Dodgers had not lost any of these great figures since Pee Wee Reese back in August of 1999.
Fortunately, we still have a trio of Hall of Fame legends who are with us today – Tommy Lasorda, Sandy Koufax and Don Sutton, along with legendary broadcasters Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin. Not to mention legends like Don Newcombe, Tommy Davis, Maury Wills, “Sweet” Lou Johnson, Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Bill Russell, Davey Lopes, Rick Monday, Fernando Valenzuela, Wes Parker, Dr. Frank Jobe, Billy DeLury and of course, all those who played the majority of their careers in the 80s, 90s and 00s. The list of these legends could go on for pages.
A day like yesterday is the ultimate reminder that we need to learn all we can from these gentlemen while they are here with us. We are so lucky to have all these people at the Stadium on a regular basis and they helped create the franchise we’ve all come to know and love.
If you see them out and about, be sure to tell them how much they mean to you and the Dodgers.