Rachel and Jackie Robinson’s lives celebrated at MLB All-Star Game

This March 4, 1946, file photo shows Jackie Robinson of the Montreal Royals baseball team, in Sanford, Florida.

This March 4, 1946, file photo shows Jackie Robinson of the Montreal Royals baseball team, in Sanford, Florida. Already at the forefront on the 75th anniversary of breaking baseball’s color barrier, Robinson’s life, legacy and impact was honored as part of the 2022 baseball All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

Bill Chaplis, Associated Press

Rachel Robinson, wife of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, was honored at the 2022 Major League Baseball All-Star Game for her 100th birthday and her philanthropic work. To honor the Robinsons’ legacy, Sony Interactive made a donation of $875,000 to the foundation she created in her husband’s memory.

She founded the Jackie Robinson Foundation in 1973 to immortalize her husband’s memory, and “to promote higher education and the values embodied in the life and legacy of sports and civil rights icon Jackie Robinson.” The foundation is known for its prestigious career development programs and scholarships for minority college students across the country, and is preparing to open the Jackie Robinson Museum on July 26.

San Diego Studio — developers for the only official Major League Baseball game, “The Show” — donated the $875,000, creating scholarships for Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars interested in video game design. According to MLB News, these scholars will have paid summer internships with San Diego Studio, a subsidiary of Sony Interactive, with the provided funding.

Sony and San Diego Studios had direct help from the gaming community to fund the donation through two strategies: by donating $1 for every 2021 and 2022 Collector’s Edition copy of “MLB The Show” and via a $5 in-game item pack available on Jackie Robinson Day April 15. The pack consisted of a Jackie Robinson Foundation bat skin, card and profile icon, with all proceeds going straight to the foundation.

In addition to the donation from Sony and San Diego Studio, both Rachel and Jackie Robinson were honored during the All-Star Game as Academy Award-winning actors Denzel Washington and Octavia Spencer spoke on their accomplishments and legacy, according to MLB News.

Washington took the field, paying tribute to Jackie Robinson by wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers No. 42 uniform. He spoke to the packed stadium about Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947 — the day Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball — the indomitable talent and character of Robinson and the impact his bravery on and off the field has on the world today.

“He said that life is not a spectator sport, and he lived that motto to the fullest,” Washington said. “Whether it was charging down the baselines or standing tall for opportunity and justice, No. 42 blazed a trail that would light the way for people of every walk of life and every color — and to this very day, every generation. That inspiration — that profound impact — looms just as large today as it did 75 years ago.”

Spencer then narrated a video tribute to Rachel Robinson, celebrating the accomplishments and hardships Rachel faced as she began her lifelong work to bring about change just as Jackie had. 

“His trial was her trial,” Spencer said. “She defines the unstoppable way forward as much as her beloved Jack. … With eloquence and determination, she has never stopped fighting when it comes to opportunities for minorities.”

Several other prominent public figures made an appearance, as well, including Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela, award-winning singer Ben Platt and actor Miles Teller. Dodger player Mookie Betts also led the players, sold-out stadium and viewers at home as they wished Rachel Robinson a happy birthday.

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