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Aspiring MLB players celebrate Jackie Robinson Day in Vero Beach

Annually on April 15, MLB pays homage to the man who integrated the game
Jackie Robinson Day at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex.jpg
Posted at 4:52 PM, Apr 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-15 20:28:39-04

VERO BEACH, Fla. — As Major League Baseball teams marked Jackie Robinson Day by wearing the number 42, a couple hundred smaller players filled Building 42 at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach.

“I’m going to have some fun,” said 7-year-old Trenton Tomlin.

The kids took over the practice facility that was once the spring training home for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, and is now transformed into a complex that honors Robinson’s legacy.

“I think it’s important they know what the number 42 means, what Jackie Robinson means,” said Tony Reagins, MLB’s chief baseball development officer.

“This facility being named Jackie Robinson Training Complex will always be a reminder of what Jackie meant to the game of baseball."

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A mural of Jackie Robinson and the number he wore at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach.

Robinson spent nearly all of his spring trainings in Vero Beach, except for his first in 1947 when the team trained in Cuba, keeping Robinson under wraps until the season started.

MLB now owns and runs the facility, which still has reminders of its Dodgers' past. Holman Stadium is still there and the streets are named for Dodgers players.

However, it’s Robinson, whose name and number 42 are now what identifies the complex.

“I used to work with Preston Gomez with the Angels and Preston would tell me stories about Jackie,” Reagins said.

“I’m getting goosebumps thinking about it, how Preston looked in Jackie’s eyes and the sadness that was there but all along Jackie knew he was tasked with a job to do, he couldn’t give up,” he added.