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Dodgers to honor Jackie Robinson with statue on 70th anniversary of his debut

·Yahoo Sports Contributor
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With Saturday marking the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier, the Los Angeles Dodgers have big plans to honor Robinson’s legacy. That includes the unveiling of a brand new bronze statue, which will be permanently displayed outside Dodger Stadium.

According to a Dodgers press release, the statue will be located in the Left Field Reserve Plaza, which is already among the highest-traveled areas of the ballpark. That should increase significantly come Saturday, as an important figure in history will be immortalized.

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And we’re not limiting that to Dodgers history, baseball history or sports history either. We’re talking a figure in history who made a worldwide impact that still resonates and inspires today.

That’s why it’s become so important for the entire league to honor Robinson on a yearly basis. Baseball’s annual celebration of Jackie Robinson Day began in 2004. In 1997, Robinson’s No. 42 was retired league-wide, but on Saturday, every player, coach, manager and umpire will wear it for the ninth straight year.

The Dodgers and Major League Baseball will continue honoring Jackie Robinson's legacy with a statue outside Dodger Stadium. (AP)
The Dodgers and Major League Baseball will continue honoring Jackie Robinson’s legacy with a statue outside Dodger Stadium. (AP)

“It’s emotional,” Jackie Robinson’s daughter Sharon said this week. “My dad was a humble person. Here he is 70 years later being recognized. He used to come home and say, ‘They gave me a standing ovation,’ and [he] was so shocked. I don’t know what he’d think of this.

“This year it’s more emotional, because my mom is turning 95. I’m so grateful she’s still with us, and that’s going to make it more emotional. To have my brother [David] here … It’s very special to have the statue unveiling with all of our family. Every year is special, but this one is particularly special.”

It’s difficult to not get emotional seeing Robinson’s legacy honored in such a meaningful way.

Here are a few more details about the ceremony and the statue itself from the Dodgers.

In what promises to be an emotional ceremony before the Dodgers’ 9:15 p.m. ET home game against Arizona, Robinson’s 94-year-old wife Rachel and their children Sharon and David will be on hand for the unveiling of a statue depicting Jackie in his rookie season of 1947, sliding into home plate in his signature style. Dodgers owner Magic Johnson and Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Sandy Koufax and Vin Scully will participate in that ceremony.

That’s quite a star-studded cast that will be on hand to honor Jackie Robinson and share the moment with his family.

If there’s one thing MLB has always done right, that is honoring the legacy of Jackie Robinson. We’re happy to see that continue in such a big way on Saturday.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!