On March 17, 1946, City Island Ballpark in Daytona Beach, Florida hosted more than just a baseball game. On that day, Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson played in the first integrated, professional baseball game. In honor of that monumental occasion, the City of Daytona Beach renamed the stadium Jackie Robinson Ballpark in 1990 and created the Jackie Robinson Museum within its gates.
The ballpark's Riverwalk features numerous plaques and activities to better facilitate an understanding of Robinson's athletic abilities and sociological impacts. A timeline of Robinson's accomplishments on and off the field can be found on the western wall of the Daytona Cubs clubhouse. The plaques touch on such subjects as his visit to Daytona Beach in 1946, his meeting with Dodgers GM Branch Rickey, and so much more.
Greeting visitors at the Orange Avenue entrance are four displays telling the remarkable stories of significant "Barrier Breakers", such as tennis and golf legend Althea Gibson, baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, and hockey great Willie O'Ree. A fifth Barrier Breaker plaque about former Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and her great accomplishments can be found in the picnic porch along the first base line. What many visitors may not realize about the picnic porch at "The Jack" is that it is the former site of the "Jim Crow Section", which was commonplace throughout baseball in the first half of the 20th Century. A display about that historical location is also located there.
The final aspects of the Jackie Robinson Museum are located directly alongside the Halifax River. Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson was well known for his trademark steals of home plate; and visitors can not only learn more about how he did it, they can try for themselves on the base path. Similar interactive displays allow visitors to compare their skills in basketball and track and field, sports in which Jackie Robinson competed and excelled in while attending Pasadena Junior College and UCLA.
The Jackie Robinson Museum is free to the public and open daily from 9am to 5pm. For more information, call (386) 257-3172.