HOUSTON, TX - On April 15, 1947, history was made when Jackie Robinson made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier.
Each year on April 15, in honor of this historic moment and of this iconic player, Jackie Robinson Day is celebrated throughout Major League Baseball in a variety of ways. Robinson's legacy is honored each year, not only for the impact he had on the game of baseball, but also for the impact he had on the nation as a whole.
At Minute Maid Park tomorrow night, all Astros and A's players and coaches will wear Robinson's retired #42 on their jerseys as part of an annual, league-wide tribute. The celebration will also include young ballplayers from the Astros Urban Youth Academy taking the field with the Astros players prior to start of the 7:10 p.m. game. Over 500 Urban Youth Academy members will be in attendance, compliments of the Astros.
FALLEN FIREFIGHTER HONORED
The Astros will also honor the memory of firefighter Captain Dwight Bazile, who lost his life after collapsing while battling a fire in February. Bazile, who had been with the Houston Fire Department since 1977, will be honored for his years of service to the city and for contributions to his community. He was one of the founders of the Black Firefighters Association. Members of Bazile's family as well as firefighters from his Station #46 will be in attendance. Additionally, seven local recipients of Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarships will also be recognized. Established in 1973 by Jackie's widow, Rachel Robinson, the Jackie Robinson Foundation is one of the premier education and leadership development programs for minority students. Over $65 million has been provided to support thousands of students, who have responded with a nearly 100% graduation rate.
The Texas Diversity and Leadership Conference, which is being held in Houston this week (April 15-17), will be recognized. Elizabeth Campbell of Andrews Kurth LLP, who is the Honorary Chair of this year's conference, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The Astros donated a block of tickets to the conference for the game. Also, Dennis Kennedy, the Founder and CEO of the National Diversity Council, will take part in the ceremony.
As part of the Jackie Robinson Day celebration, the Astros will host a special reception at Minute Maid Park in Suite #63, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Distinguished guests will include former Astros/Colt .45s players Enos Cabell, Jose Cruz, J.C. Hartman, J.R. Richard, Bob Watson and Jimmy Wynn. Members of the Bazile family as well as the Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars will also attend the reception.
Media are welcome to attend the reception.