To commemorate the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, ESPN is planning a multi-month programming effort honoring the American hero.
Robinson broke the color barrier on April 15, 1947, when he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
On April 4, the sports network will debut a short video every day through April 15 featuring interviews of athletes and other well-known figures discussing Robinson’s legacy and his wife, Rachel Robinson, who has continued her husband’s legacy through the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
“It is a natural opportunity I believe to not only recognize his legacy but to educate those who may not be as familiar as they should be with the impact he had on our way of life,” David Roberts, ESPN’s head of NBA and studio production, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Those who will be featured in the “Jackie To Me” video series include Chicago White Sox Outfielder Tim Anderson, musician Bobby Bradford, activist Ruby Bridges, rapper Chuck D, Rev. Jesse Jackson, tennis great Billie Jean King and Robinson’s son David.
The videos will run on ESPN programs SportsCenter, Get Up and First Take and ESPN’s digital properties on ESPN+.
ESPN also plans to broadcast a college baseball game between Stanford and Robinson’s alma mater UCLA on April 15 at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles.
ESPN’s effort will culminate on July 26 with the opening of The Jackie Robinson Museum in New York City. ESPN will broadcast its show First Take featuring Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim from there with live reports throughout the day.
“She will also be a critical focal point not only in covering the legacy of her husband, but what Rachel Robinson has done to carry on his legacy is just spectacular,” Roberts said. “I just cant think of enough adjectives to say how important she is to the fabric of America.”