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Congress Introduces Integration of Baseball Commemorative Coin Act

Jul 19, 2018
Press Release
Senators Scott and Booker, Congressmen Williams and Richmond Sponsor Legislation Authorizing United States Mint to Produce Coin Honoring the 75th Anniversary of the Integration of Major League Baseball in 2022

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – In 1947, the National Pastime truly became America’s game when Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby integrated baseball.

Today, the United States Congress announced the introduction of legislation that will celebrate and honor these landmark events in the country’s history with the Integration of Baseball Commemorative Coin Act.

Under a bill introduced in the Senate by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), and in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Roger Williams (R-TX) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA), 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. On April 15, 1947, Robinson debuted for the National League’s Brooklyn Dodgers and on July 5, 1947, Doby integrated the American League with the Cleveland Indians.

“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.”

“Celebrating 1947, the year Major League Baseball was integrated, reinforces the fundamental values that define our country,” said Della Britton Baeza, President and CEO of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. “Issuance of such a commemorative coin by the United States Mint will help to educate future generations about a glorious moment in our history – with which we at JRF are proud to be associated.” 

“So often through our nation's history, sports have helped unify us during times of trouble and tragedy. Talent, sweat, and perseverance are colorblind, and today's recognition is a testament to those who fought so hard for the integration of America's favorite pastime,” said Senator Scott. “I am thrilled to play a small role in honoring these legends in our history books.”

“The integration of Major League Baseball nearly 75 years ago was a historic moment in the advancement of civil rights in the United States,” Senator Booker said. “The Integration of Baseball Commemorative Coin Act will celebrate the brave actions of Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby and the critical role baseball has played in our nation's history.” 

“Baseball has always been America’s game. Growing up as a baseball player has shaped who I am as a person on and off the field – I know it takes hard work and perseverance to achieve anything worthwhile,” said Congressman Williams. “Baseball's impact on our country is best exemplified by Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. In 1947, he changed this game forever when he stepped out on Ebbets Field to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. At a time when integration was considered ambitious and unachievable, baseball led the way by bringing together Americans from all different backgrounds – celebrating their love of the game. Baseball took center stage during pivotal time in our country's history, which is why I am proud to introduce the Integration of Baseball Commemorative Coin Act with so many of my colleagues in the House and Senate.”

“As a public servant and lifelong baseball fan, I am keenly aware that I stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before me,” said Congressman Richmond. “Even amongst giants, Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby stand out. Their courage and commitment to justice and equality inspired Americans across the country and their example lives on today in every child that slips on a glove or slides into second.  In these divided times, Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby should serve as a reminder that the baseball diamond can be a place where people of all colors and creeds can come together to participate in one of America's great traditions.”

All of the coins will be square with the design corner aligned. The design for the coins will be selected by the Secretary of the Treasury after consultation with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the Commission of Fine Arts, then to be reviewed by the Citizens Coin Advisory Committee. The Secretary of the Treasury will hold a competition to determine the design of the common obverse of the coins, with the design being emblematic of the integration of the game of baseball. A common reverse design will feature a baseball diamond.

Three denominations will be issued: $5 gold coins (not more than 50,000 minted); $1 silver coins (not more than 500,000 minted); and half-dollar clad coins (not more than 750,000 minted).

The Secretary of the Treasury will issue coins minted under the act during only a one-year period beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

Congress may enact only two Commemorative Coin Acts per year, authorizing the production of coins that celebrate and honor American people, places, events and institutions. As well as commemorating important aspects of American history and culture, these coins help raise money for important causes. Part of the price of these coins is a surcharge that goes to organizations and projects that benefit the community. 

Surcharges received from the sale of the coins will benefit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Since the modern commemorative coin program began in 1982, the United States Mint has raised over $425,000,000 in surcharges to help build new museums, maintain national monuments like the Vietnam War Memorial, preserve historical sites like George Washington's home, support various Olympic programs, celebrate the 75th anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and much more.

Both Robinson and Doby are immortalized with bronze plaques at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., that recognize their abilities on the field, as well as their pioneering integration. Robinson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility, and Doby was elected in 1998.

“Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby breaking the color barrier was a watershed moment for American history,” said Hall of Famer Andre Dawson. “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 honor that important legacy.”

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an independent not-for-profit educational institution, dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the historical development of baseball and its impact on our culture by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections for a global audience as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to our National Pastime.

The Museum's collections contain more than 40,000 three-dimensional artifacts representing all facets of the game, from its inception in the mid-19th century to present. Three-dimensional artifacts include bats, baseballs, uniforms, player equipment, ballpark artifacts, awards, artwork, textiles, tickets, collectibles and assorted memorabilia. In addition, the Institution’s archives contain in excess of 135,000 baseball cards and three million Library items, including photographs, books, magazines, newspaper clippings, films, video and audio tapes.

Located on Main Street in the heart of picturesque Cooperstown, New York, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is one of the country’s major tourist destinations and is surely the best-known sports shrine in the world. Opening its doors for the first time on June 12, 1939, the Hall of Fame has stood as the definitive repository of the game’s treasures and as a symbol of the most profound individual honor bestowed on an athlete. It is every fan’s “Field of Dreams,” with its stories, legends and magic to be passed on from generation to generation.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open seven days a week year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Museum observes summer hours of 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. from Memorial Day Weekend until the day before Labor Day. Ticket prices are $23 for adults (13 and over), $15 for seniors (65 and over) and $12 for juniors (ages 7-12) and for those holding current memberships in the VFW, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and AMVets organizations. Members are always admitted free of charge and there is no charge for children 6 years of age or younger. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For more information, visit our website at baseballhall.org or call 888-HALL-OF-FAME (888-425-5633) or 607-547-7200.

For 45 years, the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) has continued Robinson’s commitment to equal opportunity by addressing the achievement gap in higher education – and is poised to expand his rich legacy by building the Jackie Robinson Museum in New York City.

Founded in 1973 by Rachel Robinson, the Foundation has advanced higher education for minority students by providing generous, four-year scholarships, coupled with a comprehensive set of support services to highly motivated minority students attending colleges and universities throughout the country. JRF’s efforts have led to a consistent 98% graduation rate among JRF Scholars, which is more than twice the national average for African American college students. The 1,500 JRF alumni are proven leaders in their communities and across a broad range of professional fields – and are true ambassadors of Jackie Robinson’s legacy of service. JRF has disbursed over $85 million in grants and direct program support to students who have attended over 260 different colleges and universities across the country.

Expanding its mission of education, the Foundation is engaged currently in constructing the Jackie Robinson Museum in New York City. The Museum, which will include a robust online component, will chronicle Jackie Robinson storied athletic career and his long-lasting impact across society through artifacts, state-of-the-art exhibits, film and other media. This permanent tribute to Jackie Robinson and Rachel Robinson’s role in promoting equal opportunity, will serve as a destination for innovative educational programming and a place for vibrant dialogue on critical social issues. For more information, visit www.JackieRobinson.org.

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