Monday, April 14, 2008


Lou Gossett Jr. will emcee the events and Chaka Khan will sing the National Anthem

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers will celebrate the 61st anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier tomorrow with a variety of on-field and pregame ceremonies. In addition, for the second straight year, all Dodger uniformed personnel will honor Robinson by wearing his number 42, which is retired throughout Major League Baseball, during the game. The game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off to benefit the Dodgers Dream Foundation throughout the season.

“This organization's reputation as an agent for social change began with Jackie Robinson,” said Dodger President Jamie McCourt. “His legacy lives in the hearts of children across the globe who are unified by baseball, and more importantly, realize they too can pursue the career of their dreams. The freedom to engage in that pursuit, and the knowledge that it is their abilities that will determine their success, keeps him alive throughout the world today."

Actor Lou Gossett Jr., who grew up a Dodger fan in Brooklyn and is best known for his Oscar-winning appearance in “An Officer and a Gentleman,” will emcee the evening’s events, and Dodger legend Don Newcombe, who pioneered alongside Robinson, will also be present. Newcombe will throw out the ceremonial first pitch with Robinson’s niece, Kathy Robinson Young, who will be in attendance with her family.

Ten-time Grammy Award-winner Chaka Khan, who won the 2007 Grammy for Best R&B album, will sing the National Anthem, preceded by Nicolette Robinson, who will sing God Bless America. Nicolette Robinson is one of 11 Jackie Robinson Scholars who will be recognized during pregame ceremonies for their achievements. Nichole Whiteman, a former Jackie Robinson Scholar who is now the Director of the Western Region of the Foundation, will be recognized as well. In 2005, the Dodgers made a million-dollar commitment to fund the Jackie Robinson Foundation with more than $100,000 each year for 10 years to fund 42 college Scholarships per year. These Dodgers Scholars, called “Team 42,” each receive $2,500 from the Dodgers Dream Foundation.

In 2007, the Dodgers hosted Major League Baseball’s national Jackie Robinson Day celebration to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his breaking the color barrier and have requested through Major League Baseball that a home game be played every April 15 in order to honor the legendary Hall of Famer. The club has continued to perpetuate the beliefs of Robinson throughout the past year, as the Dodgers hosted the inaugural “Jackie Robinson Legacy Day” on January 31, 2008. The event, which took place on what would have been Robinson’s 89th birthday and coincided with the eve of Black History Month, included more than 100 local students who came to Dodger Stadium to learn first-hand from Robinson’s relatives, teammates, and others tied to the Dodgers’ diverse history and culture about his remarkable contributions to professional baseball and to the civil rights movement.

Please contact the Dodgers’ Public Relations Department at (323) 224-1301 for additional information.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, pioneers in sport and world culture, are celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2008. In that period, they have won more games, more pennants, and more World Series than any other club in the National League. Since the start of the modern era in baseball, the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles, combined, have a cumulative attendance of more than 176 million, the highest total in the history of baseball or any other sport.

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