Oscar winner, Denzel Washington gives a surprise kickstart to the MLB All-Star Game’s telecast by honoring the legendary Jackie Robinson. 75 years ago, he broke the baseball color line paving way for people of color.
Major League Baseball returns to Dodger Stadium after almost 40 years. Many Hollywood stars were part of the action, but it was Denzel Washington who gave the honorable start. He did so with a special tribute to Dodger legend, Jackie Robinson. Also, if you’re planning to watch MLB All-Games, check out how you can watch the game on Fox Sports outside USA
To kick off the Fox telecast, he walked up to the home plate shortly after 5 p.m. wearing the Dodger jersey with no. 42 on its back, Robinson’s iconic number. This took place after a performance of the national anthem from Ben Platt who wore a “Choice” pin, hinting at the recent reckoning over reproductive rights.
“Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, 1947,” Washington started his speech, recalling the date on which Robinson became the first black person to join the MLB. He further continued, “When Jackie Robinson stepped onto a Major League Baseball field for the first time, armed with supreme talent and unshakable character and wearing a Dodgers uniform, he changed the game of baseball and so much more.”
The Training Day actor spoke proudly about how Robinson carried a “Towering” presence, who won accolades like the rookie of the year, most valuable player, and even the World Series Champion. He shared, “Beyond the field, Jackie Robinson challenged us to become better versions of ourselves.
The actor further continued, saying, “Business leader, family man, activist, Hall of Famer. He said that life is not a spectator sport, and he lived that motto to the fullest. Whether it was charging down the baseline or standing tall for opportunity and justice, number 42 blazed a trail that would light the way for people from every walk of life and every color and to this very day. That inspiration, that profound impact, looms just as large today as it did 75 years ago.” Upon completing the heart-touching speech, he walked off the field.
His beautiful speech was headlined on Twitter and posted on MLB’s page. You can check it out below:
— MLB (@MLB) July 20, 2022
Other than the 75th-anniversary milestone, it was also coincidentally the 100th birthday of Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson. This was not a first for Denzel, as he also attended the celebration of Jackie Robinson Day this year on April 15th. He is a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees but still visited the Dodgers clubhouse to shake hands and meet the team.
Before the game commenced, Dodgers superstar Mookie Betts made sure the 100th birthday milestone did not go unnoticed. As the players gathered at home plate, he took the mic and asked the entire stadium to wish Rachel Robinson “Happy Birthday, Rachel”. The momentous occasion was tweeted by @MLB:
What an awesome moment!
— MLB (@MLB) July 20, 2022
Jackie Robinson integrated baseball on April 15th 1947 and since then, the Dodgers ground celebrates the date as Jackie Robinson day. He was awarded Rookie of the year in his first year and was inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 1962. His legendary figure was acknowledged in sports and popular culture. His story was portrayed in the 1950s The Jackie Robinson Story, and most recently in the 2013’s 42 portrayed by the late Chadwick Boseman.
Boseman’s Twitter account also expressed celebration of the 100th Birthday of Rachel Robinson:
Today, on her 100th birthday, we honor Rachel Robinson’s incredible accomplishments as a nurse, professor, wife, mother and humanitarian- including the wonderful work she’s done through the @JRFoundation. Happy birthday! pic.twitter.com/yBNuWxcLRC
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) July 19, 2022
Robinson’s no. 42 jersey was officially retired in 1997 and stays as memorabilia of his excellent time in Dodgers.
Denzel Washington’s acknowledgement of the legendary man of color was a great reminder of never forgetting the heroes. Ever since Jackie Robinson, players of color have dominated the baseball world and continue to recognize his work and achievements. Dodgers stadium will never forget the great ones.