NEW YORK – Marking the 67th anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier, the Rev. Jesse Jackson praised commissioner Bud Selig for the strides the sport has taken in minority opportunities over the past two decades.
Jackson traveled to baseball’s 1992 winter meetings to criticize its lack of minorities in management, and he pushed for change.
Selig retired Robinson’s No. 42 in 1997 on the 50th anniversary of the big league debut of the Brooklyn Dodgers first baseman. Selig established a Diverse Business Partners program the following year and in 1999 started requiring clubs to consider at least one minority for each manager and major executive opening. MLB also sponsors 35 Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars.
“To honor Jackie in this way honors the best in America,” Jackson told Selig on Tuesday at MLB’s third Diversity Business Summit. “In many ways, had Jackie not succeeded you could not have Atlanta Falcons or the Braves or the Carolina Panthers. You could not have these southern teams if Jackie had failed.”