COMPTON (CBSLA) — On the same day baseball players across the nation donned the number 42 to honor Jackie Robinson, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation unveiled the first phase of its $2.7 million Dreamfields complex in Compton.
“It is a wonderful day and a culmination of just a longtime vision and investment for our community,” Compton Mayor Aja Brown said. “Our young people deserve world class facilities and a space where they can not only play but can grow and thrive.”READ MORE: Jerry West Insulted At Being Left Off Jeanie Buss’ Top 5 Lakers List
The Gonzales Park project — the largest Dodgers Dreamfields project — features three fields complete with new playing surfaces, fencing, dugouts, irrigation upgrades, lighting, paint and scoreboards.
Jackie Robinson Stadium was designed for baseball players age 13 and older and college play. Field 42, named for the uniform number Robinson worse with the Dodgers, was designed for baseball and softball players ages 5 to 8. Rachel Robinson Field, named for Robinson’s wife, was designed for baseball players ages 9 to 12 and softball players ages 9 to 18.
“We’re excited for the hundreds of young Black boys and girls who will be able to participate on these fields in the city of Compton in the many, many years to come,” Nichol Whiteman, CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, said. “Compton is a city that has often been in the shadows and today, on Jackie Robinson Day, I think he would have been proud of us honoring this community in this way and providing these youth with this opportunity.”
Along with the fields, a training space with batting cages, bullpens, practice infield and outdoor fitness equipment was also unveiled. Kershaw’s Challenge Training and Fitness Zone was named after pitcher Clayton Kershaw’s charity.
“As we celebrate the legacy of Jackie Robinson, Kershaw’s Challenge is proud to partner with LADF to restore Gonzales Park to its baseball glory and create a welcoming environment for all ages,” Kershaw said. “What was once baseball heaven became a challenging place to play, making the sport inaccessible to kids in the neighborhood.”
The Los Angeles Dodger Foundation’s Science of Baseball outdoor classroom will also introduce the science, math and physics of baseball to everyone using the facility in partnership with Science of Sport and Edison International.
That the unveiling coincided with the 74th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball’s color line with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 held special meaning for Robinson’s granddaughter.READ MORE: Cache Of Fireworks Worth $50,000 Seized From Santa Ana Home
“This is a perfect union of the two celebrations, opening a field here dedicated to the youth and community, which is such a touching tribute to the legacy of my grandfather and my grandmother,” Ayo Robinson said.
To mark the day, all MLB players and on-field personnel will wear Robinson’s number 42 and more than 230 players — including Dodgers Mookie Betts, David Price and manager David Roberts — have agreed to donate their game-day salaries to the Players Alliance, which promotes Black participation in baseball.
The Dodgers Dreamfields program was started in 2003 and has built or refurbished 51 fields in that time. The foundation has pledged to complete 75 fields by 2033, the 75th anniversary of the Dodgers’ move to Los Angeles.MORE NEWS: Bill Maher Tests Positive For COVID-19
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)