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Dodgers honoring 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut with statue

CHICAGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are set to unveil a Jackie Robinson statue at Dodger Stadium on Saturday that will serve as a permanent reminder of the trailblazing athlete and humanitarian.

The 10-foot bronze likeness of the first black major league player will include a granite base featuring three famous Robinson quotes, including his mantra for everybody’s role in society: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

The statue itself depicts Robinson sliding into home plate, modeled after an actual play in his rookie season of 1947.

"I think it is so important that the Dodgers are honoring my dad with a statue at the stadium," Robinson’s daughter, Sharon, said Tuesday. "It's the first time [Dodger Stadium] will have a statue and it really links the Brooklyn Dodgers with the L.A. Dodgers. And my dad grew up in Pasadena. He didn’t play for the L.A. Dodgers, but he is very much from the heart of California and the area."

Saturday is Jackie Robinson Day across baseball, with the Dodgers hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks that day. It is also the 70th anniversary of Robinson’s debut with the club.

Robinson’s widow, Rachel, will also be in attendance Saturday, as well as 200 members of the Robinson family, according to Sharon Robinson. Rachel Robinson will turn 95 in July.

Robinson’s statue is the first in what is expected to be a number of bronze likenesses dedicated in future years to the club’s former players. The Robinson statue is located on the left-field side of the reserve level.

It will be the 13th Jackie Robinson Day after the remembrance was started in 2004. All on-field personnel will wear the No. 42 for the ninth consecutive season, though some players started wearing it back in 2007 after Ken Griffey Jr. made a request of the commissioner to do so.

"Each club seems to be picking its own take on the day and making it special," Sharon Robinson said. "I think that is very important because everyone should be able to celebrate it as they see Jackie Robinson reflected in their community."

While the statue will depict Robinson in his playing days, Rachel Robinson said much of her father’s impact has come after his time as a major leaguer was complete.

"In 1963, it was kind of emotional when my dad kind of laid out our family mission," Sharon Robinson said. "By laying that out so many years ago, it has been a guide for my brother and me all of our lives.

"So it is emotional to go and be a part of real American history and know that your father had a significant part in equality or working toward justice in America. And also that you’re still somehow involved in it and your mother is. It is a good feeling. We [still] have a lot of work to do."