Major League Baseball is kicking off a yearlong tribute to Jackie Robinson, who would have been 100 years old Thursday.
Robinson’s widow, Rachel, and their daughter Sharon, will be handed the symbolic key to the city in Brooklyn, New York, where Robinson spent his major league career.
They will also join baseball commissioner Rob Manfred to open an exhibit dedicated to Robinson at the Museum of the City of New York.
A new Jackie Robinson Museum will open in New York later this year, and on April 15, every major league team will observe Jackie Robinson Day.
All players will wear a number 42 on their uniforms for one day, the number Robinson wore during his career. Baseball has retired the number 42, meaning no major league player can choose it for his number.
Robinson was the first African-American to play in the major leagues, joining the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 as a second baseman.
He faced outright racism from fans, other teams, and other players, including some of his teammates.
The sometimes short-tempered Robinson held back his anger, refusing to give his racist critics the satisfaction of reacting with violence, even when he was physically assaulted.
He instead silenced his critics with his performance on the playing field, including superb fielding, aggressive base-running, a .311 lifetime batting average, 137 home runs, six all-star games, and helping lead the Dodgers to the World Series six times and one world championship in 1955.
Robinson retired from playing in 1956 and was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame six years later. He was 53 when he died of a heart attack in 1972.