PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks announced today that they will commemorate Jackie Robinson Day on Monday, April 16 as part of a MLB-wide 65th anniversary recognition of the Hall Of Famer breaking the game’s color barrier in 1947.
Tuskegee Airmen Lt. Col. Asa Herring and Lt. Col. Robert Ashby will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Chase Field before the D-backs take on the Pittsburgh Pirates. The D-backs will present a check for $4,200 to the Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc. in a special pre-game ceremony on the field. In addition, a portion of group ticket sales will be donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Robinson played his first Major League game at Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947 as a first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig and MLB have celebrated Robinson’s legacy in a unified, league-wide show of support for many years, including retiring his number throughout the league in 1997, dedicating April 15th as Jackie Robinson Day each year since 2004, and requesting that every player and all on-field personnel wear his Number 42 during games scheduled on Jackie Robinson Day since 2009. The D-backs will wear Number 42 during their road game against the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black military aviators in the United States Armed Forces. At a time when Jim Crow laws were still in effect, the Tuskegee Airmen’s 996 pilots and 15,000-plus ground personnel carried out nearly 15,500 combat sorties during World War II. The success of the Tuskegee Airmen led to breaking the color barrier in the U.S. armed forces. Lt. Col. Asa Herring is a Tuskegee Airman and retired U.S. Air Force Fighter Pilot. Herring entered active duty on Dec. 27, 1944 as an aviation cadet and has flown in 350 combat missions in Vietnam. His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and Air Medal with 13 Oak Leaf Clusters. Lt. Col. Ashby is a Tuskegee Airman having served as a B-47 instructor and was the first black captain for Frontier Airlines logging more than 20,000 flying hours.
D-backs tickets start as low as $8 and can be purchased online at dbacks.com, losdbacks.com, at the Chase Field ticket windows or by calling 602.514.8400.