Major League Baseball hit another home run tonight.
As it did last year with Kevin Costner’s appearance at the Field of Dreams game in Iowa, the league brought in a Hollywood heavy hitter to add a little televised magic to the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium.
Just before players took the field, Denzel Washington walked out in the late afternoon sun and gave the crowd a laconic but stirring remembrance of number 42 and all he meant, not just to the Dodgers or baseball or sports, but to the world. Fox Sports captured the moment.
“Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, 1947,” said Washington setting the scene. “When Jackie Robinson stepped onto a Major League Baseball field for the first time, armed with supreme talent and unshakable character and wearing a Dodgers uniform, he changed the game of baseball and so much more.”
He continued, “What he carried with him, what he represented, was towering. On the field, he the rookie of the year, a most valuable player, a world champion and a seven-time all star. Beyond the field, Jackie Robinson challenged us to become better versions of ourselves.
“Business leader, family man, activist, Hall of Famer. He said that life is not a spectator sport, and he lived that motto to the fullest. Whether it was charging down the baseline or standing tall for opportunity and justice, number 42 blazed a trail that would light the way for people from every walk of life and every color and to this very day. That inspiration, that profound impact, looms just as large today as it did 75 years ago.”
With that, Washington walked off the field.
Sharing video of the moment, the MLB summed it up succinctly on Twitter: “Denzel Washington honors Jackie Robinson. Chills.”
— MLB (@MLB) July 20, 2022
While the moment celebrated Robinson’s MLB debut — which was actually on April 15, 1947 — today actually marks the 100th birthday of Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson, who is herself a force of nature.
Dodgers superstar Mookie Betts did not let the milestone go unnoticed. With all the players gathered at home plate before the game, he took the mic and asked the entire stadium to wish Robinson a “Happy Birthday, Rachel.”
What an awesome moment!
— MLB (@MLB) July 20, 2022
The only thing missing — besides number 42 himself — was the man who played him so ably onscreen, Chadwick Boseman. However, a timely post on the actor’s official Twitter account today paid tribute.
“Today, on her 100th birthday, we honor Rachel Robinson’s incredible accomplishments as a nurse, professor, wife, mother and humanitarian- including the wonderful work she’s done through the @JRFoundation. Happy birthday!”
Today, on her 100th birthday, we honor Rachel Robinson’s incredible accomplishments as a nurse, professor, wife, mother and humanitarian- including the wonderful work she’s done through the @JRFFoundation. Happy birthday! pic.twitter.com/yBNuWxcLRC
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) July 19, 2022