LOS ANGELES (AP) — A bronze statue of Jackie Robinson stealing home was unveiled at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, an idea stemming from a meeting shortly after the team’s new ownership took control in 2012.
Dodgers chairman Mark Walter had just met Robinson’s wife, Rachel, when he rose and approached her.
“He pulled Mrs. Robinson aside and said, ‘We’re going to get a statue of your husband,'” team co-owner Magic Johnson said. “And he backed it up.”
It’s the first statue at Dodger Stadium, and its unveiling came on the 70th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier. Baseball celebrates an annual Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, when all players and coaches wear his No. 42.
“Every advancement in society has come from people standing on the shoulders of giants,” Dodgers President Stan Kasten said. “And in the history of baseball, in the history of our country, few people have stood taller than Jackie Robinson.”
A pregame ceremony included Frank Robinson, baseball’s first black manager; Dodgers Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully; Robinson’s children Sharon and David; Kasten and Johnson.
Rachel Robinson, 94, was also in attendance, as was Robinson’s former teammates Sandy Koufax, Don Newcombe and Tommy Lasorda.
“This was a great moment for all Dodger fans, for baseball fans,” Johnson said. “I’m just happy. I’m bubbling over.
“It’s funny, I’m more happy because of his statue than the two I got (Staples Center, Michigan State).”
David Robinson was born in 1952, too young to grasp his father’s impact as a child, but he said he understands it clearly now.
“Baseball really has achieved a coming together of people over the 70 years and continuing that great impact on society,” David Robinson said.
Branly Cadet sculpted the statue.