In recognition of the 68th anniversary of Jackie Robinson becoming the first African-American player in Major League Baseball, the Orioles will honor Robinson’s legacy on Wednesday, April 15, by hosting a “self-expression” contest with the Boys & Girls Club. Members will be challenged to express their thoughts creatively through a speech, poem, art, or skit about Robinson’s nine values for success: citizenship, commitment, courage, determination, excellence, integrity, justice, persistence, and teamwork. The goal of the contest is to strengthen reading, writing, and public speaking skills of Boys & Girls Club members while teaching about the impact Robinson had not only on Major League Baseball but on the world around him.
A panel consisting of three distinguished individuals will evaluate each project: Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, Chair of the Jackie Robinson Foundation’s Mid-Atlantic Scholar Advisory Committee Kendra Gaither, and Secretary of the Jackie Robinson Foundation Alumni Association Lauryn Nwankpa. Jones is an active supporter of the Foundation and has made individual contributions to fund scholarships, leadership development, and mentoring programs. Nwankpa is also an associate producer for a DC-based film production company and served as a representative of the Foundation on the set of the 2013 Jackie Robinson biopic “42.” The project winner will have an opportunity to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Orioles’ Jackie Robinson Night game on April 15 at 7:05 p.m. The contest is open to the media and will be held at the Westport Homes Boys & Girls Club (2343 Norfolk Street, Baltimore, MD 21230) from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Additionally, the Orioles, through the OriolesREACH Gameday Experience Program, will donate 150 game tickets to the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore.
Over the past several years, Jones has donated his time and resources to enhance the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore. Together, Jones and the Orioles have donated more than $100,000 toward the expansion and renovation of the Brooklyn O’Malley Boys & Girls Club Technology and Learning Center and the complete remodeling of the “Teen Center” at the Boys & Girls Club, Westport/Winans Homes Center.
During Wednesday’s game, all Orioles uniformed personnel will wear No. 42, Robinson’s retired number, joining all other Major League teams in honoring Robinson’s historic achievement. Each player’s authenticated game-worn and autographed No. 42 jersey will be auctioned at www.orioles.com/auction to benefit the Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. The auction will begin on April 15 at 7:00 p.m. and will conclude on April 22 at 10:00 p.m. In addition, MLB.com will be auctioning off an Orioles team autographed No. 42 jersey at www.mlb.com/42jersey to benefit the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Since 2009, the Orioles have raised more than $70,000 for the Jackie Robinson Foundation through the online jersey auction. To learn more about the Foundation, fans can visit jackierobinson.org or @JRFoundation on Twitter.