Minnesota Twins president David St. Peters spent the afternoon of March 3 reading to fourth graders at Stevenson Elementary School in Fridley.
During the visit, St. Peters read “Testing the Ice”, a true story written by Sharon Robinson about growing up with one of the most influential baseball players in American history-her father Jackie Robinson.
As the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball, Robinson broke the color barrier and opened the door for players of different races and backgrounds.
To honor his contributions, the Minnesota Twins created the Be an All-Star reading program.
“The Minnesota Twins are year in and year out focused on putting the best team on the field but year in and year out we are also focused on being good community citizens,” said St. Peter. “We think that it starts with our young people and it is certainly a focus within this program to express the power of reading and by telling Jackie Robinson’s story I think we also maybe, hopefully, shed light on what Jackie meant not just to baseball but what he meant to America.”
Each year on April 15, Major League Baseball celebrates the anniversary of Jackie’s historic entry into baseball with every team playing in his honor and every player wearing the number 42 on their jerseys. Jackie’s impact, however, goes beyond baseball.
The Be an All-Star reading program not only highlights Robinson’s historic and successful baseball career and impact he has had on the civil rights movement, but the importance of reading and education.
St. Peters also shared with students Jackie Robinson’s nine core values: courage, determination, teamwork, persistence, integrity, citizenship, justice, commitment and excellence and how they can use those values to make an impact of their own.
“I think that Jackie Robinson’s story is one that needs to be highlighted, particularly with new generations,” said St.
Peters. “It is a powerful story because of what it meant to Major League Baseball but I think it is a more powerful story for what it meant to this country. We continue to struggle day in and day out in this country with issues around race and I think we need to remember what Jackie Robinson’s story was, the impact that it had, but it also maybe underscored what more we can do as individuals to help ensure that there is equal opportunity for all.”
Minnesota Twins representatives will share Jackie Robinson’s story to over 3.500 kids throughout the course of the program.
Contact Sam Lenhart at [email protected]