In 1946, Major League Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier at City Island Ballpark in Daytona Beach as a member of the Montreal Royals, the top farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The ballpark was the site of the first racially integrated spring training game in modern baseball history. Robinson was promoted to the Dodgers in 1947.
Four thousand seats to the August 25 game, Daytona Cubs vs. Vero Beach Devil Rays, are available to the public at no charge and can be picked up at any Volusia County library. (Branch locations are listed at www.volusia.org/library.) The tickets are available at Volusia County libraries on a first-come, first-served basis.
"When the County heard about this milestone anniversary in our community, I knew we needed to be involved," said Volusia County Chair Frank Bruno regarding the Jackie Robinson anniversary. "It's an opportunity for all of us to celebrate diversity, heritage and an amazing man who left his imprint on history."
Several national and local celebrities will welcome the public in pre-game ceremonies: Major League Baseball Educational Consultant and vice chairman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Sharon Robinson; former Negro Leagues Player Doc Graham; George Shuba, a teammate of Robinson's on the Montreal Royals' minor league team in 1946; historian Bill Schumann; members of the Volusia County Council; and Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey.
Shuba, author of My Memories as a Brooklyn Dodger, will hold a book signing at 7:45 p.m. The book was released in July 2007. In the pre-game ceremonies, youth baseball players will recreate Shuba's famous 1946 handshake with Robinson. Prior to the game, the Daytona Cubs will sign autographs for fans. Complimentary team autograph pages and informational booths about County departments will be available to attendees. Live music and food and drink specials will be from 5 - 6:30 p.m. Footage of Jackie Robinson playing for the Montreal Royals in Daytona Beach during his groundbreaking spring training will air on television screens throughout the ballpark. Face painting for youths during the game and post-game fireworks also will be part of the fun.
For more information, visit www.volusia.org/robinson or www.daytonacubs.com.