Today marks the anniversary of several events in Major League Baseball, most of which, have racial significance as related to human rights in the United States. We found it interesting that so much happened on April 8th in baseball over the years, starting in 1968 in honor of a man who spent nearly his entire life working as an activist and leader in the African American Civil Rights Movement.
Famous for being a civil rights activist, Nobel Peace prize winner and delivering his 'I Have a Dream' speach, Martin Luther King, Jr. is respected as a human rights icon. His work has aided many Americans to reach their full potential, even after his death. Following his assassination on April 4, 1968, opening day of baseball was postponed since it was scheduled for April 8th, one day prior to King's funeral.
On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron, in front of a Braves' record crowd of 53,775, hit his 715th career home run off of Al Downing to pass Babe Ruth as baseball's all-time home run leader.
Exactly one year after Aaron's 715th home run, Frank Robinson became the first black man to manage a major league team. He debuted as the Cleveland Indians' player/manager and homered in his first at-bat. The Indians went on to win the game, 5-3 over the New York Yankees.
On this day, back in 1987, Los Angeles Dodgers' General Manager Al Campanis was fired after making discriminatory and racially-insensitive comments when speaking about black ball-players during an interview with Ted Koppel on Nightline. Interestingly enough, Campanis was a former teammate of baseball legend Jackie Robinson.