A museum honoring Major League Baseball great Jackie Robinson, whose 100th birthday was celebrated Thursday, is scheduled to opened in New York City, where he was signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers, a team he remained with until his retirement.
The Jackie Robinson Museum, a 11,000 square foot, $42 million facility, is located in Manhattan’s Tribeca and SoHo neighborhoods.
It will feature 32 photographs of Robinson after he signed with the Dodgers, breaking Maj0r League Baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947. His signing ended the long-standing agreement among white team owners forbidding the signing of black athletes in the modern era.
On April 15 of every year, MLB honors Jackie Robinson with all of the teams wearing “42” on their jerseys, which was Robinson’s number.The museum’s goal is to conserve, archive and collect objects that showcase Jackie Robinson’s singular achievements.
Robinson was subjected to racist onslaughts during his tenure in the Major Leagues. Opposing pitchers threw fastballs at his head to injure him permanently. At the time, batters didn’t wear helmets and Robinson wore a special reinforced baseball cap for protection.
Runners slid into base with their spikes up to injury him, and he was repeatedly called “nigger” by opposing team members. Some of his own teammates refused to play with him and they were joined by Brooklyn fans who threw garbage at him and shouted slurs at him from the stands.
None of this stopped him from being named 1947’s MLB Rookie of Year.
The 2013 movie “42” revived interest in Robinson, sparking plans to raise money for the museum. The film starred Chadwick Boseman as Robinson and Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey.
Money for the museum is being raised by the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Robinson retired from baseball in 1957. He was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, becoming the first black man to achieve the honor.
Robinson suffered from diabetes and became blind from the disease. He died October 24, 1972. He was born January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, but grew up in Pasadena, California.
The Jackie Robinson Foundation’s lead sponsors include the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Mets, Major League Baseball, New York Yankees, and the Yawkey Foundation, which is a shock.
Thomas Yawkey, the longtime owner of the Boston Red Sox, refused to sign black players, including Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays. The Boston Red Sox were the last team to sign a black player. The Yawkey Foundation was founded in 1983.