pictured above l-r: JRF Co-chair Leonard S. Coleman, Jr., San Diego Padres Sr. VP Omar Minaya, Chairman's Award recipient Dusty Baker and former Colorado Rockies owner Mary McMorris
It was a festive evening at JRF’s headquarters in downtown Manhattan, where a capacity crowd gathered to celebrate Jackie Robinson’s 95th birthday and pay tribute to winning Major League Baseball player and manager Dusty Baker. Midway through the evening, Baker received the 2014 Chairman's Award, named in honor of longtime chair of JRF’s board of directors Leonard S. Coleman, Jr., to recognize outstanding leaders in the sports' industry who have promoted the values embodied in the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson. Baker played for the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics and managed the Giants (1993-2002), Chicago Cubs (2003-2006), and Cincinnati Reds (2008-2013). In his remarks, Baker told the crowd that when he was young, Jackie Robinson was a great inspiration to him. Baker recalled how his dad often engaged him to do the right thing in life by asking, “What would Jackie do?’”
Jackie Robinson's actual birthday is January 31st. Each year in January, the Foundation celebrates with friends and supporters, including celebrated sports figures, at an annual bash where the Chairman’s Award is presented. Rachel Robinson, JRF founder and wife of the Foundation’s heroic namesake, co-hosts the event and greets the guests personally. Held on January 16th this year and emceed by veteran sportscaster Len Berman , the evening’s lead sponsor was Morgan Stanley US Wealth Management group led by Andy Saperstein, Managing Director and Head of Investment Products and Services (IPS) for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. Omar Minaya, former Mets general manager who now serves as senior Vice-President in the San Diego Padres front office, presented the Chairman’s Award to Baker. Minaya was joined by Mary McMorris , former co-owner with her late husband, Jerry McMorris, of the Colorado Rockies and co-recipient with him of the subject award in 2011.
In addition to Mary and Jerry McMorris, previous Chairman ‘s Award winners include former Arizona Diamondbacks owner and author Jerry Colangelo; baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson; Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls; and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner (posthumously), through son Hal Steinbrenner.