Honoring Jackie Robinson Extends Into Orbit This Year

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jackie Robinson Day was celebrated even in space this year.

While Rachel Robinson, the player’s widow, and Commissioner Rob Manfred were set to honor Robinson in a ceremony at Dodger Stadium in conjunction with Major League Baseball’s annual Civil Rights Game, astronaut Terry Virts wore a Dodgers jersey with Robinson’s No. 42 along with a Brooklyn cap at the International Space Station orbiting the Earth. Wednesday marked the 68th anniversary of Robinson breaking the major league color barrier.

“I can remember reading a book about Jackie when I was in the first grade,” Virts said in a video posted on MLB.com. “Even at that young age, I was really impressed with what he did beyond baseball. Jackie, alongside his wife Rachel, opened up a world of opportunities that had been closed to so many Americans simply because of the color of their skin. What he did took courage, a lot of courage. He had to endure things that most of us could not imagine, and he had to do it while maintaining composure that most of us couldn’t begin to muster.”

Opening-day rosters included 8.3 percent of players who identified as African-American, according to Richard Lapchick’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. That was a slight increase from 8.2 last year, which equaled the study low set in 2007.

“We all recognize that there’s a tremendous amount of athletes that are migrating to football and basketball,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Create more space in the inner cities is one possible way to do it. We have to continue to find ways to make our game appeal to young people of all walks of life. I know this is a point of emphasis. There’s a growing concern that our game does not —> Read More