Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson swinging a bat in a Dodgers uniform in 1954.

 

 

A bill introduced this week by U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, and U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, celebrates the 75th anniversary of the integration of baseball through the Integration of Baseball Commemorative Coin Act.

Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball on April 15, 1947, when he debuted with the National League’s Brooklyn Dodgers. Larry Doby did the same on July 5 the same year when he debuted with the American League’s Cleveland Indians.

“In 1947, Jackie Robinson changed baseball forever when he stepped out on Ebbets Field to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers,” Williams said. “At a time when integration was considered ambitious and unachievable, baseball led the way to bringing together Americans from all different backgrounds. The courageous acts of those willing to sacrifice it all for a chance to play the game they loved changed the dialogue around race in our country and put on full display the fundamental right that all people are created equal.

“As someone whose life has been shaped by America’s greatest pastime, I am proud to introduce the Integration of Baseball Commemorative Coin Act with Rep. Richmond and over 100 of my colleagues in the House.”

Richmond agreed.

“Baseball holds a special place in American history and in the hearts of many in this country,” Richmond said. “Celebrating baseball’s 75th anniversary of integration pays tribute to MLB trailblazers who paved the way for so many players today and also honors its significance to the Civil Rights Movement and justice for all. 

“Baseball has long played an integral role in my life and has served as a way to bring all people together. I’m proud to introduce this legislation with Rep. Williams.”

Williams played baseball for TCU and later coached the same team. He also played for the Atlanta Braves’ farm system and has for the past several years served as coach of the House’s Republican team, which plays the Democratic team in the Annual Congressional Baseball Game.

Richmond has for the past several years served as starting pitcher for the Democratic team.

Congress may only enact two commemorative coin acts per year to authorize production of coins celebrating American people, places or events.

Pending approval of the bill, the commemorative coin for baseball’s integration would become available Jan. 1, 2022, which marks the 75th anniversary of Robinson and Doby’s achievements.

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