Robinson Hall plaque to be changed, reflecting breaking barrier

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- For more than four decades, Jackie Robinson's plaque at the Hall of Fame has made no mention that he broke the major league color barrier. That will change this weekend.

A new plaque for the Brooklyn Dodgers star will be dedicated Saturday at the Hall during a ceremony to be attended by Rachel Robinson, the widow of the pioneering player.

"When he earned election to the Hall of Fame in 1962, Jackie Robinson totaled a career worthy of inclusion based on performance alone," new Hall president Jeff Idelson said Tuesday. "Now, 46 years later, his impact is not fully defined without mention of his extreme courage in breaking baseball's color barrier. The time is right to recognize his contribution to history, not only as a Hall of Fame player, but also as a civil rights pioneer."

Robinson joined the Dodgers in 1947, breaking baseball's longtime policy against black players in the major leagues. He won the NL Rookie of the Year award that season, became a six-time All-Star and won the 1949 NL MVP award. He finished with a .311 batting average, 1,518 hits, 137 homers, 734 RBIs, 947 runs and 197 steals in 10 seasons.

He was elected to the Hall in his first year of eligibility, receiving votes on 124 of 160 ballots (77.5 percent).

Roberto Clemente's plaque was altered in 2000 to correct his name to "Roberto Clemente Walker" instead of "Roberto Walker Clemente," reflecting the proper style of Latin-American names.

In 1991, then-Hall president Bill Guilfoile said he was aware of two previous instances of plaques being changed, involving Ted Williams (the Hall wasn't happy with the image of his head) and Bob Feller (to reflect his time in military service).