Jackie Robinson Day was a big hit at Dodger Stadium

Dodgers scoreboard on Jackie Robinson Day

It’s the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers and it was a good night to get out the #42’s for every Dodger and Padre player. But the fun got started on the field before the game as Rachel Robinson and her family joined the likes of Brooklyn righty Don Newcombe, Earvin Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Harrison Ford (Branch Rickey in the movie 42) who threw out the first pitch. Even Rickey’s great grand-daughter was on hand to sing the national anthem.

Ford to Mattingly

Ford to Mattingly

I hadn’t seen Rachel Robinson in 6 years (which I reminded her in our group interview) and she still looks amazing at the spry young age of 90. And she was in a nice talkative mood especially when I asked her about the new movie ’42’…


I was ready to get the best position to interview Mrs. Robinson

I was ready to get the best position to interview Mrs. Robinson

Magic, Rachel, Sharon Robinson, and Newcombe

Magic, Rachel, Sharon Robinson, and Newcombe

Dodger minority owner and front office guru Earvin Johnson also stopped to say a few words before taking part in the pregame ceremony and reiterated what he told us the day he took over with the club…how Jackie Robinson opened the doors to all future generations including himself!…

On her way off the field Mrs. Robinson walked past a gentleman she’s known forever. Mr. Tommy Lasorda and it was a nice exchange before I got once last opportunity to thank her as it was time to watch a little baseball and to root on her beloved Dodgers.

Rachel greets Tommy right in front of me after wrapping up pregame

Rachel greets Tommy right in front of me after wrapping up pregame

42's in the Dodger dugout during the national anthem

42’s in the Dodger dugout during the national anthem

And then it was time to play ball as the Padres quickly got the lead on a 2nd inning 3-run homer by ex-Dodger lefty Eric Stults off of Chad Billingsley something that didn’t shock his former batterymate A.J. Ellis…

I also got comments from a few of the guys about wearing the 42’s and how special it is to be a Dodger on Jackie Robinson Day…first manager Don Mattingly…

And then Matt Kemp on wearing 42 and the long blue stirrups like the old days and what’s going on with his team these days…

And Adrian Gonzalez loved his first time wearing 42 as a Dodger but he also surprised me with a story about his wife and her connection with the Boston marathon as we chatted about today’s tragedy in Adrian’s former city…

Oh by the way, the Padres spoiled the Dodgers party with a 6-3 win but it was a special night to remember celebrating the past while dealing with the reality of today’s whackos in this world!

Batting practice without my gloves on

Batting practice without my gloves on

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About Ted Sobel

Award winning sportscaster/journalist covering major events around the world since 1973. Please check out my deep audio vault and follow me on twitter (@tedsobelsports).
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