Jul 18, 2006

Ottawa Lynx to host tribute to Jackie Robinson

On July 23, the Ottawa Lynx (Triple A Baseball) will host a tribute to Jackie Robinson, the first African American player in Major League Baseball history. From a press release:
The Lynx, in partnership with the National Capital Amateur Athletic Association will host a 60th anniversary tribute to Jackie Robinson's first season in professional baseball when he played for the Montreal Royals of the International League.
Starting at 12:00 pm on July 23rd, the Lynx will hold a pre-game ceremony with two former teammates of Robinson [George "Shotgun" Shuba and Jean-Pierre Roy] and International League President Randy Mobley present. Part of the ceremony will be the retirement of Jackie Robinson's number 42 on the outfield wall at Lynx Stadium.
The Ottawa Lynx team will be wearing replica jerseys and caps from the 1946 Montreal Royals, with the jerseys being auctioned off in a silent auction format during the game on July 23rd. Proceeds of the auction will go to benefit local children's charities.

What a great event for the Lynx to host. The team is struggling with attendance in Ottawa, and this event should be one of the highlights of the season for local fans. Young franchises take note: This is a great way to pay tribute to history and tradition -- even if you don't have much of a history to highlight. The Lynx have only been around for a decade -- but given their past connection to Montreal baseball, this ceremony doesn't feel out of place at all.

(Off on a tangent: The last time the Lynx retired a jersey was Jamey Carroll's #3. The ceremony was scheduled for August 14, 2003 -- the same night that a massive blackout hit eastern North America. The Lynx went ahead with the ceremony, inviting the few dozen fans at the stadium onto the field. Carroll addressed the crowd "unplugged", without a microphone. It was a real treat for the die-hard Lynx fans who made their way to the ballpark.)

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