"It is truly an ideal pairing to have the franchise of Jackie Robinson and the city of Los Angeles join our National Pastime in recognizing leaders of the past and present who have done so much for the benefit of our country," said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. "Together with the Dodgers, Major League Baseball will proudly celebrate the civil rights movement, the courageous people like Jackie who contributed to it, and its many lessons that continue to resonate today."
"We're proud of the role the Dodgers have played in professional sports history as pioneers of social change since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947 during the team's days in Brooklyn," said Dodger owner Earvin "Magic" Johnson. "From Jackie to Sandy Koufax to Fernando Valenzuela to Hideo Nomo to Chan Ho Park to now Yasiel Puig and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Dodgers have sought to lead the way and be a model of inclusion in sports and American society as a whole."
"Thanks to Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers, baseball was at the forefront of the civil rights movement, integrating long before other parts of our nation caught up," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "I'm proud that Los Angeles will play home to this game honoring the legacy of Jackie Robinson and all those who stand for freedom and equality."
In addition to the Civil Rights Game on Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium, Major League Baseball and the Dodgers will honor MLB Beacon Award recipients, conduct a youth baseball-focused event and host the Baseball & Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion. Details for these and all other Civil Rights Game and Jackie Robinson Day-related efforts will be announced at a later date. Tickets and information for the 2015 Civil Rights Game on Jackie Robinson Day are available on MLB.com/civilrightsgame and Dodgers.com/civilrightsgame.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson signing his first professional contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1945, which was the first step toward his eventually breaking of the color barrier on April 15, 1947.
ABOUT THE BASEBALL & THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION
A group of prominent participants will discuss the pivotal role Baseball played in the civil rights movement and the game's continued presence as a social institution in American society. Previous panelists have included Sharon Robinson, Ernest Green, Dolores Huerta, Bob Kendrick, Martin Luther King III, Arte Moreno, Branch Rickey III, Ambassador Shabazz, Thomas Tull, and Ken Williams. Also included in the list of past participants are Hall of Famers Barry Larkin, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, and Dave Winfield; Dodgers legend Don Newcombe; Hall of Fame journalist and MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons; and MLB Network & FOX Sports analyst Harold Reynolds, among others. The Baseball & the Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion will be streamed on MLB.com and Dodgers.com prior to the Civil Rights Game.
ABOUT THE CIVIL RIGHTS GAME
The 2015 Civil Rights Game is the ninth installation of an annual event that began in Memphis in 2007, centering on an exhibition game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians. After another exhibition game in Memphis in 2008, the Civil Rights Game moved to Cincinnati (2009-2010), Atlanta (2011-2012), and Chicago (2013) as regular season contests, and last year was hosted in Houston by the Astros.