By Danny Gallagher
Canadian Baseball Network
Two pioneering baseball figures with ties to Montreal are being honoured in the latest introduction of legislation by the United States Congress.
A statement released Wednesday by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., revealed that Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby are being feted for their role in baseball history with the Integration of Baseball Commemorative Coin Act.
Robinson played for the Montreal Royals triple-A team in 1946 and broke the major-league colour barrier when he was in the lineup for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. Doby, who was a coach for the Expos from 1971-73, made his debut in the majors three months later on July 5, 1947 as a member of the Cleveland Indians. Doby was also a scout for the Expos in 1969.
The Integration of Baseball Commemorative Coin Act authorizes the production of an official United States Mint Commemorative Coin honoring the 75th anniversary of the integration of baseball in 2022.
“In 1947, seven years before the landmark Supreme Court case, Brown V. Board of Education, and 17 years before the passage of the Civil Rights Act, Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby stepped onto Major League Baseball diamonds and forever changed the history of our nation,” said Jeff Idelson, president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “The recognition of this seminal moment in United States history through the minting of a coin in the design of a baseball diamond will serve to educate future generations of Americans about the struggles and ultimate triumphs of those on the vanguard of the civil rights movement.
“The National Baseball Hall of Fame is grateful to Senators Tim Scott and Cory Booker, and Congressmen Roger Williams and Cedric Richmond for taking the lead on the introduction of this historic bipartisan and bicameral legislation, which recognizes the 75th anniversary of the integration of baseball and the meaningful work of the Jackie Robinson Foundation.”
All of the coins will be square with the design corner aligned. The design for the coins will be chosen by the Secretary of the Treasury after consultation with the Hall of Fame, the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the Commission of Fine Arts. It will then be reviewed by the Citizens Coin Advisory Committee. The Secretary of the Treasury will issue coins minted under the act during only a one-year period, beginning Jan. 1, 2022.
Both Robinson and Doby are immortalized with bronze plaques at the Hall of Fame, plaques that recognize their abilities on the field, as well as their pioneering integration. Robinson was elected to the hall in 1962 and Doby made it in 1998.
“Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby breaking the colour barrier was a watershed moment for American history,” Hall of Famer and Expos legend Andre Dawson said in a statement released by the hall. “Those men helped push America’s civil rights movement forward, paving the way for future ballplayers like myself to have the opportunity to pursue our dreams. This coin will honour that important legacy.”
Danny Gallagher's upcoming book is called Blue Monday: the Expos, the Dodgers and the Home Run That Changed Everything.