The PawSox yesterday presented their third annual "Celebration of Life" for Jackie Robinson to herald "Black History Month," which begins Thursday. The pioneering Hall of Famer's birthday is January 31.
Red Sox Hall of Famer Tommy Harper and PA Announcer Dick Flavin addressed more than 100 at the Pawtucket Boys and Girls Club. The PawSox Foundation made two donations: one for $1,000 to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which provided college scholarships, and one for $3,000 to the Pawtucket Boys and Girls Club, which accommodates thousands of area children in after-school programs that extend right through dinner.
"I've long been fascinated by the poetry of Jackie Robinson's birthday being the eve of Black History Month," said PawSox President Dr. Charles Steinberg, who spoke and served as master of ceremonies for the event. "All of us can take pride that baseball has been a key part of bringing people together. Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson made a courageous move, before the United States Army was integrated, before Rosa Parks stepped on that bus, before Brown vs. the Board of Education, before the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had even graduated from Morehouse College-and long before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
"We shudder to think of what modern Red Sox history would have looked like had we not enjoyed the electricity and unity of Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz, were we not now enjoying Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Xander Bogaerts. Their opportunities started with Jackie Robinson.
"We are so pleased to see that Jackie Bradley, Jr. will join Tommy Harper tomorrow, teaching more children in Boston."
The Boston Red Sox will tomorrow hold their 15th annual tribute to Robinson, who died in October of 1972, and who would have turned 99 years old tomorrow. His widow, Rachel Robinson, is 95 years old.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.