The baseball diamond that’s laid vacant for quite some time now over at Roger’s Park, inherited a well-deserved makeover this past weekend. Club 42, under the leadership of John Branca (co-executor of The Michael Jackson Estate, and nephew of Ralph Branca, the last living member of the historic 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers during Jackie Robinson's rookie season in major league baseball) celebrated the life and legacy of Hall of Fame Major League Baseball icon, Jackie Robinson on the annual Jackie Robinson Weekend,
Bringing high quality baseball back to the City of Inglewood is something that Coach Lareece Barksdale and youth mentors at the Inglewood City Elite baseball program have done. “We’re providing kids in the community with opportunities that they otherwise may not have, as far as academic prep and high quality baseball,” Coach Barksdale added.
“What we’re doing is bringing together communities. Most of the folks coming from Thousand Oaks and Beverly Hills are joining that team, and playing with the kids from Inglewood, which is a reflection of what Jackie Robinson stood for. That’s the spirit of the day, the spirit of the game, and the spirit of the teams who are here,” Councilman Eloy Morales said.
In addition to celebrating Jackie Robinson Weekend, the young players were surprised to find among them, living legend, Hall of Fame inductee, World Series MVP, and first black manager in MLB history, Frank Robinson. Mr. Robinson acknowledged the young players by encouraging them to try their best, and most importantly, get their education because not every player is destined for professional baseball. “It’s great to be here today, I look forward to helping out more in the future,” Robinson said.
Branca founded Club 42 on the principles coveted by Jackie Robinson, equality of opportunity and competitive greatness. “We’re thrilled to be part of the renaissance of this great City of Inglewood and to be down here at Rogers Park, now Field 42, on Saturday nights,” he said.
“We have a lot of great things going on in the city right now, but the main reason we do this, and make economics flow into the city, is so that we can provide a high quality of life for our residents, and most importantly, educational and recreational opportunities for our children and seniors. We wanna thank Club 42 and dedicate this field, Field 42 for the next 3 years,” Mayor Butts added.