The Jackie Robinson Foundation presented its Chairman’s Award to two giants in the sporting world. Team owner and author Jerry Colangelo and baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson were honored at the annual birthday celebration for Jackie Robinson.
Colangelo, a former college basketball player and the no-nonsense owner of the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Diamondbacks expressed his gratitude for being recognized by the Foundation that bears the name of the barrier-breaking Jackie Robinson. Like the Hall of Famer who broke baseball’s color barrier, Colangelo has endeavored to live the ideals which emphasize honesty and fairness as well as a passion to help others.
Frank Robinson was the first African-American hired to serve as manager in Major League history. During the last two years of his playing career, Robinson managed the Cleveland Indians where he finished the season with a 186–189 record. He went on to manage the San Francisco Giants, the Baltimore Orioles, and the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals. Frank Robinson now works for MLB as its executive vice-president. After publicly recognizing JRF Founder and wife of the baseball legend, Rachel Robinson, Frank Robinson told the audience about his first meeting with Jackie and his regret that Jackie Robinson didn’t live long enough to see him rise to manager of a major league team, a hope Jackie Robinson expressed during his final public appearance.
“We are delighted to be able to honor these leaders in sports,” said Leonard S. Coleman, Jr., former president of the National League and Chair of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. “They join a unique club of sports’ legends who truly embody the life of Jackie Robinson.”
“As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, the Foundation brings into its fold two more giants in sports who have been impacted by the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson,” said JRF President and CEO Della Britton Baeza . “We are proud to honor them tonight and to let our JRF Scholars know how Jackie Robinson’s achievements continue to resonate long after his death.”
The awards were presented at the Jackie Robinson Foundation headquarters in downtown New York City. Sponsors of the event include: Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, BNY Mellon, Major League Baseball, Sheila C. Johnson Foundation, William Doescher, Mary McMorris and New Era Cap Company.
The Chairman’s Award recognizes outstanding leaders in the sports industry who have promoted the values embodied in the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson. Previous award winners have included Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner (posthumously) as well as Jerry and Mary McMorris, former owners of the Colorado Rockies who received the award in 2011.
Pictured above: Gregg Gonsalves (co-chair JRF), Sharon Robinson, Frank Robinson, Rachel Robinson, Jerry Colangelo, Della Britton Baeza (President/CEO-JRF), Leonard S. Coleman, Jr. (co-chair JRF)