Empire State Building lit Dodgers blue in honor of Jackie Robinson Day (Photo)

Jackie Robinson

Each year on April 15, Major League Baseball remembers and celebrates the life and impact of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson.

The New York Yankees had a ceremony planned to honor both Robinson and Nelson Mandela on Tuesday that was to be attended by Robinson’s widow Rachel and daughter Sharon. Unfortunately, rain forced the postponement of the Yankees’ against the Chicago Cubs and pushed the events to Wednesday.

A tribute that did go on as planned in New York on Tuesday was the tower of the iconic Empire State Building being lit in blue and white in honor of the former Brooklyn Dodgers great.

Vin Scully really did race Jackie Robinson on ice skates

vin-scullyDuring a Los Angeles Dodgers broadcast back in May of 2012, legendary announcer Vin Scully told a short story about the time he raced Jackie Robinson on ice skates. Scully, who fancies himself an avid skater, said he took a trip to a resort with Jackie and his wife Rachel when he decided to go skating. Jackie offered to go with him, though he had never been on ice skates.

“Now Jackie’s putting his skates on alongside me in the dressing room and he says, ‘When we get out there I’d like to race you,'” Scully recalled. “I said, ‘Jack, I didn’t know you ice skated. You’re from southern California, I knew football and baseball but I didn’t know ice skating.’ Jackie said, ‘I’ve never been on skates in my life.’

“So I started to laugh and said, ‘Hey, Jack, let’s face it — I’m not a great skater but I can skate.’ He said, ‘I know. I want to race you because that’s how I’m going to learn.’ If you’ve never been on skates before, the first thing you do is walk on your ankles. And, sure enough, he was running on his ankles on the ice trying to beat me.”

Scully may have been 85 years old at the time he shared that story, but this is a man who still very much has his wits about him. And now, we have photo proof.

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Jackie Robinson statue vandalized with swastikas, ‘die n—er’

Jackie RobinsonThe Jackie Robinson statue outside MCU Park in Coney Island, New York, was defaced with swastikas and racial slurs, Brooklyn Cyclones employees learned when they arrived at the park on Wednesday.

Team employees were arriving at the park for a game between the Cyclones and Connecticut Tigers when they made the discovery.

According to the New York Post, police say “heil Hitler,” “die n—-r,” “F–k n—-r” and “F–k Jackie Robinson and all n—-rs” were written on the statue.

Crews worked to remove the graffiti but had no luck, so they covered the base of the statue with duct tape and a tarp.

The statue commemorates a moment of solidarity at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field, when former Brooklyn Dodger Pee Wee Reese put his arm around the man who broke the color barrier in baseball.

Per CBS New York, here’s what the statue said:

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Rachel Robinson says she is ‘sad’ to see Mariano Rivera retiring

Mariano-Rivera-YankeesNew York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera recently announced that he will be retiring after this season, which means the No. 42 will be officially retired from Major League Baseball after the season. The No. 42 was retired across baseball in 1997 in honor of Jackie Robinson, and Rivera is the only player remaining who still wears that number.

On Sunday, Robinson’s wife Rachel told the NY Daily News that she was “a little sad” to hear that Rivera will not be pitching beyond the 2012 season.

“You start to think over the life of his career, all that he has accomplished,” Rachel Robinson said. “All players have to face it, but it’s still hard to think about Mariano not pitching anymore. He has had a wonderful career.”

Robinson, who is now 90 years old, said she does not know Rivera all that well but can see similarities between the Yankee legend and her late husband.

“They were both very determined,” she explained. “They are two men with great dignity and pride, and carried that with what they did on the field. Some of the characteristics of Jack, I see in Mariano.

“Mariano has brought attention to (the number), and to Jackie’s career as well. It’s enhanced the interest in No. 42, and that is important for our youth. It’s been such a thrill for me to see the stadiums full of players wearing Jack’s number on April 15 (Jackie Robinson Day). The number has gained a lot in an emotional sense, and certainly Mariano has been a part of that.”

Rivera is one of the most well-respected pitchers to ever play the game, so you can understand why Rachel has been proud to see him keep the legacy alive. But as Google reminded us last month, there will still be plenty of Jackie Robinson tributes to go around long after the No. 42 has officially made its exit from the MLB.

Photo credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Google has tribute to Jackie Robinson in honor of his birthday (Picture)

Jackie Robinson Google

Google dedicated its search homepage to Jackie Robinson in honor of the deceased former baseball player’s birthday Thursday.

Robinson died in 1972 at the age of 53. He would have been 94 on Thursday.

Robinson, of course, broke MLB’s color barrier in 1947 as a first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Playing at a time when much of the country was still segregated, Robinson faced intense racism, criticism, and scrutiny, yet he managed to perform and behave admirably. Robinson won Rookie of the Year in ’47.

He made six All-Star teams and won MVP 1949 after hitting .342 while stealing 37 bases.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962, Robinson is survived by his wife, Rachel, who is 90. The two met at UCLA where Jackie was a standout baseball, football, basketball, and track athlete.

It took a man of extremely special character to break baseball’s color barrier, and the Dodgers couldn’t have found a better person to help integrate the sport.

Adam Jones, Jason Heyward to wear special cleats on Jackie Robinson Day

Jackie Robinson Day will be celebrated throughout the majors on Sunday, and two young African-American outfielders have a special tribute planned. Adam Jones of the Orioles and Jason Heyward of the Braves are two of the players to wear the cleats pictured above to honor the man who broke MLB’s color barrier. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal says Curtis Granderson will also wear special cleats. Granderson’s cleats will be auctioned with the proceeds going to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Heyward tweeted that the cleats are the Nike Griffey Jr. Swingman model spikes. He also noted that the color is light blue and yellow in honor of Robinson’s alma mater, UCLA.

Heyward called wearing the cleats an “honor and a pleasure,” while Jones termed it “a true honor.”

We’ve been upset with clothing companies in the past for using sensitive holidays to try and market new shoes, but there’s nothing not to like about this. This is an awesome tribute to Jackie Robinson.

Photo via @MLB

Nats Officials Say Scrutiny Bryce Harper Faces Is Similar to Jackie Robinson

Bryce Harper has become a punching bag here at LBS because of his questionable on-field behavior. His arrogance on the field includes actions such as showing up umpires and blowing kisses at opponents. It got so bad we had to sack him with the LBS Nut Bag.

Thing is, the scrutiny Harper has received is the result of appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 16 (his parents’ fault), and his poor behavior. Simply put, only he and his family is responsible for being a disliked public figure, not anyone else. That’s what makes the references in a Sports Illustrated article so insulting.

As The Washington Post points out, two Nationals officials compared the level of scrutiny Bryce Harper faces to what Jackie Robinson went through.

From Nationals Director of Player Development Doug Harris:

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