BOSTON, MA -- For the 14th consecutive year, the Boston Red Sox will celebrate the life of Jackie Robinson by teaching New England students the story of his challenges and triumphs. The club will visit with students at New Mission High School in Hyde Park tomorrow, Friday, January 29, accompanied by Branch Rickey III, the grandson of the Hall of Fame baseball executive who broke baseball's color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson to a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
Robinson would have turned 97 this Sunday, January 31.
Also joining Friday's tribute is Red Sox Hall of Famer Tommy Harper, Chairman of the Great Fenway Park Writers' Series George Mitrovich, and Red Sox PA announcer and Poet Laureate Dick Flavin. Adam Pellerin of NESN will moderate the event. Wally the Green Monster and the three World Series trophies will also be on hand.
Robinson became the first African-American to play in the major leagues on April 15, 1947, when he donned a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform and stepped onto the baseball diamond at Ebbets Field for a game against the Boston Braves. Dodgers President/General Manager Branch Rickey selected Robinson as much for his values and strength of character as for his baseball skills that helped him earn the 1947 Rookie Of the Year Award, the 1949 National League Most Valuable Player Award, and six trips to the All-Star Game in a 10-year major league career during which the Dodgers won six N.L. pennants and the 1955 World Series.
Friday evening, Red Sox President Sam Kennedy will travel to Durham, North Carolina, to serve as keynote speaker for North Carolina Central University's (NCCU) fifth annual First Pitch Dinner and Silent Auction. The fundraising event will take place at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Durham, and benefits the NCCU baseball program.
On April 25, 2015, the Red Sox hosted Fenway Park's first-ever historically black college baseball showcase between NCUU and Florida A&M University. The game was played during a free Open House at the ballpark and was part of the HBCU Legacy Weekend Celebration created by the City of Boston.