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70 years later, Jackie Robinson continues to inspire

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Saturday’s Say Hey, Baseball looks at the expanding legacy of Jackie Robinson, the touching story of Rod Carew’s new heart, and the 10th anniversary of flying pizza.

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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Today, April 15, is Jackie Robinson Day. It's the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier by taking the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Today, every player in Major League Baseball will wear the number 42, which is the only time you'll ever see it worn in a game. MLB has a ceremony planned at Dodger Stadium today to celebrate Robinson's incredible accomplishments. Robinson's wife, Rachel, and his children, Sharon and David, will be there to help unveil the new statue of Robinson, and Dodgers owners and legends (like Vin Scully and Sandy Koufax) will be there as well.

Jackie Robinson's spirit and legacy continues to inspire more and more actions that are meant to help others, and even baseball itself. Today, MLB clubs are hosting 50 scholars from the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which is dedicated to giving scholarships to motivated students who demonstrate financial need (among other things) and shepherding them through a four-year college. In March, the Jackie Robinson Foundation received a $6.5 million gift that will enable it to expand its scholarship program but also break ground on the Jackie Robinson Museum.

Jackie Robinson Day is also the final day of the inaugural Trailblazer Series. The Trailblazer Series is the first ever program hosted by Major League Baseball to celebrate and promote girls baseball. In a time when girls are often shunted into softball once baseball becomes competitive, it's significant that MLB is promoting baseball as an option for young girls. Some 100 girls from 20 states and Canada were invited for three days of lectures, interaction with coaches and players in women's baseball, and of course, actual baseball. And to play with only girls, when many of the participants have no choice but to play with boys at home, is a huge thing. The girls will also participate in Jackie Robinson Day festivities at Dodger Stadium to close out their weekend.

In a time when Jackie Robinson the player continues to get further and further from our collective memory, celebrating his legacy is vital to the game of baseball. But even more importantly, Robinson's legacy continues to inspire people to make a difference in the world.