MLB donates $40,000 to replace Jackie Robinson marker

Submitted photoThe Jackie Robinson marker in southern Grady County was damaged by two shotgun blasts. The marker stands at what is believed to be his birthplace.

CAIRO — Major League Baseball is donating $40,000 to the Georgia Historical Society to use to replace and maintain a historical marker honoring Jackie Robinson in Grady County.

Robinson was born in Grady County on Jan. 31, 1919. He broke MLB’s color barrier in 1947.

The marker was placed at what is believed to be his birth site on Hadley Ferry Road near Meridian Road in southern Grady County. It was erected in 2001 by the GHS and the Jackie Robinson Cairo Memorial Institute.

The marker was damaged by shotgun blasts on both sides. The damage was reported to the sheriff’s office on February 17.

A shotgun slug stuck in the sign, according to an incident report from the Grady County Sheriff’s Office. A strand of barbed wire securing the site was cut and a gate was damaged. Fresh footprints showed someone climbed over the fence, the report stated.

The sheriff’s office said Friday that there was no new information on the damage.

“GHS is deeply grateful to (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred for supporting our teaching mission through the replacement and endowment of the birthplace of Jackie Robinson historical marker,” Dr. W. Todd Groce, president and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society, said.

The marker is part of the GHS Civil Rights Trail.

GHS will place an identical marker in front of the Roddenbery Library on Broad Street in Cairo. It will be in the southwest corner of the library’s site.

A portion of MLB’s donation will go to GHS to create The Jackie Robinson Fund, an endowment to provide care and protection for the marker.

“Our goal is to ensure that everyone who visits South Georgia can learn about the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson,” Groce said. “Robinson’s talent on the field and his dedication to Civil Rights should never be forgotten.”

Cairo High School’s baseball field is named for Robinson, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. There is a small marker near the home dugout. Earlier this summer, a mural honoring Robinson was painted on the side of the concession stand. There is also a stretch of Georgia Highway 93 named for Robinson.

Robinson died in 1972 at the age of 53. 

Kevin Price can be reached at 229-226-2400, ext. 1820

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