14 Years in the Making; Jackie Robinson Museum Opens

After 14 years, the musuem has finally opened

Jackie Robinson holding a baseball.

The Jackie Robinson Museum finally opened this week after 14 years of planning construction — which ESPN noted is longer than the professional baseball career of the athlete the museum honors. The opening gala was attended by Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s wife, who just turned 100 years old this year. Along with her 72-year-old daughter Sharon and 70-year-old son David, Rachel had the honor to cut the ribbon after an outdoor celebration. The Jackie Robinson Museum houses over 4,500 artifacts with historical significance including the baseball player’s 1946 minor league contract where he was paid $600 a month. Also, his 1947 rookie contract which paid him $5,000 in salary  — $68,200 in today’s money compared to the million-dollar salary/winnings of today’s star athletes — is in display. The museum similarly houses 40,000 photographs and 450 hours of video footage.

The plans for the museum was announced back in 2008 during the 61st anniversary of the baseball star’s major league break. The Jackie Robinson’s legacy goes farther than only being a Major League Baseball player, he was the first Black major league player who recognized his unique position and paved the way for diversity in the sport.

“The issues in baseball, the issues that Jackie Robinson challenged in 1947, they’re still with us,” David Robinson said during the opening gala, as reported by ESPN. “The signs of white only have been taken down, but the complexity of equal opportunity still exists.” As Denzel Washington recently honored the athlete in an MLB All-Star game, Robinson changed the playing field not just for baseball, but for civil rights as well.

Baseball legend Jackie Robinson’s wife, Rachel Robinson, cuts the ribbon during the opening gala for the athlete’s namesake museum. Photo courtesy of MLB.

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