Every year since 2003, all 30 Major League Baseball teams have celebrated Jackie Robinson Day and commemorated the man who broke the color barrier in baseball by having every player wear No. 42. The day is celebrated annually on April 15, but that was not the case for the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs this year.
The Braves and Cubs honored Robinson’s legacy on Monday in the teams’ showdown at Wrigley Field. The teams had to wait nearly a month to join the rest of baseball in the tradition because their April 15 game was postponed due to weather.
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Despite the wait, the day to celebrate one of the pioneers in baseball was still a special one for the Braves. Third base coach Ron Washington, who played at the major league level from 1977 to 1989, told Fox Sports about the importance of remembering Robinson.
“You’ve got to remember where you came from,” Washington said. “The one thing you want to try and do more than anything else is try to make it easier for everyone else who comes behind you. Jackie Robinson, I’m not saying he made it easy for us, but he sure opened up an opportunity. We just had to come in and blaze our own trail.”
“It’s huge,” Braves reliever Sam Freeman told Fox Sports. “I think it’s one of my first or second to be a part of. With the legacy he left, it’s great to be a part of it.”
The difficulty of rescheduling games not only caused a delay in celebrating Jackie Robinson Day, but it also makes for an odd week for the two teams. After playing in Chicago on Monday, the two teams face off on Tuesday in Atlanta as the start of a three-game home series for the Braves.