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Locals reflect on Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson
Sixty years ago today, Jackie Robinson overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to become the first black to play Major League Baseball in the modern era. His shattering of the color barrier changed the game and the country.
Robinson would go on to win the National League Rookie of the Year that season and later in his career the NL MVP. He also helped lead the Brooklyn Dodgers to six pennants and a world championship in his ten seasons.  
Major League Baseball celebrates Robinson’s major league debut today.
All players will wear a No. 42 decal on their helmets.
The entire Los Angeles Dodgers roster will wear No. 42 when they host the San Diego Padres in an ESPN-televised game, starting at 8 p.m.
Bradwell Institute baseball coach Rhett Hellgren, who grew up in Pittsburgh, admiring Roberto Clemente, said it’s great what Robinson accomplished.
“He was some kind of human being to put up with everything he had to do,” Hellgren said. “All the adversity he had to go through being on a team with all whites, he was an incredible player.”
Liston Singletary, the president of the Liberty County branch of the NAACP, said he looks at Robinson as not just breaking the color barrier but defying the odds amidst adversity.
“His persevering and strength gives me the wherewithal in whatever endeavor I have not only as an African-American but as an American in whatever I do.” Singletary said. “He was both courageous and monumental in what he represented during that time.”
Singletary said Robinson did not throw in the towel.
“His dignity and pride served as an example of how every American should embrace America with all its flaws and challenges,” he said. “He gave us a shining example on how we can use our celebrity status not just for self-preservation but for a vehicle to speak out on issues that affect humanity on a broader scale.”
Singletary credits Robinson for helping to open the door for several African-Americans not just in sports but also in every facet of life.
“His efforts helped pave the way for us,” he said.
The pregame celebration at Dodger Stadium will begin with a video tribute to Jackie Robinson followed by an “Ode to Jackie” reading by celebrities, including Courtney B. Vance, Marlon Wayans and Angela Bassett.
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