VOICES: Jackie Robinson Day is much bigger than baseball

On April 15, Major League Baseball will again celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, an annual tradition that celebrates the man credited with racially integrating baseball in the modern era. As a means of commemorating Robinson’s accomplishments, Major League Baseball has retired the number 42 among all teams, except on Jackie Robinson Day, when all MLB players don a number 42 jersey in tribute.

Robinson’s athletic accomplishments, however, transcend baseball. He is the only athlete to ever letter in four sports at the University of California at Los Angeles – baseball, football, basketball and track and field.

In 1939, Robinson was an All PAC-10 honoree after leading the nation in punt return yards for consecutive years, and splitting time on both offense (running back) and defense (safety). In basketball, he was selected as the conference MVP after posting double-digit scoring averages for two consecutive years. In track, he claimed a conference championship and national championship in the long jump.

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