Robinson's 100th Birthday Baseballl

A glove used by Brooklyn Dodgers baseball player Jackie Robinson is displayed at the exhibit "In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait of a Baseball Legend" at the Museum of City of New York in New York. The 100th anniversary of Robinson's birth is celebrated Thursday, Jan. 31, with the opening of the exhibit.

NEW YORK — As the 100th anniversary of Jack­ie Robinson’s birth ap­proached, Sharon Robinson is sure her father would have a lot to say about the cur­rent political climate in the United States if he were still alive.

“I know he would be out­raged,” she said.

Jackie Robinson, who died at age 53 in 1972, would have turned 100 on Thurs­day. He broke Major League Baseball’s color bar­rier with the Brooklyn Dod­gers on April 15, 1947, and the centennial of his birth marks the opening of an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York titled “In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait of a Base­ball Legend.”

It features memorabilia and 32 photographs orig­in­ally shot for Look mag­a­zine, plus footage of Rob­in­son hitting grounders to his son in the backyard of the family house in Stam­ford, Connecticut.

Rachel Robinson, the ball­player’s wife, planned to attend the opening, still a force at age 96. The cel­e­bra­tion and baseball’s an­nual Jackie Robinson Day on April 15 will focus at­ten­tion on the Jack­ie Rob­in­son Museum in the SoHo section of Man­hat­tan, scheduled to open in December.

Della Britton Baeza, CEO of the Jackie Rob­in­son Foundation, said $28 mil­lion has been raised tow­ard a $42 million goal — matching Robinson’s uni­form number, which was retired throughout the major leagues in 1997. The money raised covers con­struc­tion costs, and an ad­di­tional $4 million is needed for marketing and staff.

The overall goal in­cludes $10 million for an en­dowment, she said.

“In this day and age in this climate of our country, we really are going to take on this issue of discussing race relations,” Britton Baeza said. “What better place than a place that pays tribute to one of the great integrationists of the last century? So we’re going to roll up our sleeves. We will do it from a position of goodwill and from a position of starting with the facts, if you will, but we’re going to take these things on and talk about activism in sports.”

The exhibit, which runs until Sept. 15, is a part­ner­ship between the Museum of the City of New York and the foun­da­tion, and some of the memorabilia will wind up at the Jackie Robinson Museum.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has been a major backer of the Jackie Rob­inson Foundation and the museum, and he will be hon­ored at the foundation’s an­nual awards dinner on March 4 along with bus­i­ness­man Maverick Carter and musician Kristopher Bowers.

“The centennial of his birth is an opportunity for MLB to recognize the historical significance of Jackie Robinson and to continue to teach younger people the impact he had on baseball and society,” Manfred said.

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