Back in 2017, former Washington Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker had a good answer when he was asked what Jackie Robinson Day meant to him.
“It means to me that we talk about it every year [on] this day,” Baker said, “but to me, no big deal, because every day is Jackie Robinson Day to me.”
“If it wasn’t for him,” Baker added, “I wouldn’t be in baseball and I wouldn’t be working as a player and I wouldn’t have this job.
“So, it’s great to think about it and to hold the guys in high esteem but every day is Jackie Robinson Day to me.”
Every season since 2004, Major League Baseball has celebrated Jackie Robinson Day on the anniversary of the day (April 15th) in 1947 when he broke baseball’s color barrier, making his MLB debut.
“For the whole country, what he did and how he did it, it’s incredible,” the Nationals’ current manager, Davey Martinez, told reporters last April.
“Nobody tells you what a strong man he was to endure some of the things that he had to endure for this game,” Martinez continued. “And people need to realize too that he was an unbelievable baseball player. People seem to forget that because of what he went through, but he was one of the best players in baseball.”
Unfortunately, there’s no baseball being played today, with the majors shut down due to the ongoing COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic, but that, Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo told reporters this past Friday, shouldn’t stop people from remembering Robinson.
“I think it’s one of the biggest days of the major league calendar and of the calendar in general,” Rizzo said.
“I think he’s one of the most important people in American society and not only sports.
“I think it’s a fitting tribute that we have a day to honor him each year, and it’s very fitting that it’s during the baseball season, and although we won’t be playing any games this year, we certainly will stop and remember what he’s meant not only to the game of baseball but to the fabric of America.”