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Waltz, Soto, and Rubio Introduce the Jackie Robinson Ballpark Commemorative Site Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, U.S. Congressmen Mike Waltz (FL-06) and Darren Soto (FL-09) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Jackie Robinson Ballpark Commemorative Site Act to honor the location where Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and played his first professional game. Under this legislation, the Jackie Robinson Ballpark and home the Daytona Tortugas, would be designated as a National Commemorative Site and direct the Secretary of Interior to conduct a feasibility study to give the site the designation of National Historic Landmark.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (FL-R) will introduce companion legislation in the Senate. The bill is co-sponsored by the entire Florida House delegation and has the support from both Major and Minor League Baseball.

“Jackie Robinson changed the course of history forever on March 17, 1946 in Daytona Beach when he set foot in the then-named Daytona City Island Ballpark,” said Waltz. “Since that day, Daytona Beach’s ballpark has been a historic landmark and reminder of Jackie Robinson, the Civil Rights Movement, and the integration of modern professional baseball. We must preserve and honor Jackie Robinson’s legacy and the impact he had in Daytona Beach and across America. That is why I am proud to introduce this bill in Congress on Jackie Robinson Day with fellow Floridian Senator Rubio to protect and commemorate the Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach so it may live on for generations to come.”

“I am thrilled to introduce this bill, honoring Jackie Robinson's legacy by designating the Daytona Beach ballpark as a National Commemorative Site. It's a vital step towards preserving his historic contributions,” said Soto. “Jackie Robinson's legacy is a beacon of courage, resilience, and equality. His groundbreaking journey through adversity not only transformed the game of baseball but ignited a movement for social change that continues to inspire generations worldwide."

“Jackie Robinson wasn’t just a phenomenal baseball player; he was a trailblazer who broke barriers both on and off the field," said Senator Rubio. "In 1946, he played at the Daytona City Island Ballpark, where his courage transformed not only the sport, but also our nation. I’m introducing the Jackie Robinson Ballpark Commemorative Site Act to honor and protect the site where Jackie played his first game and to remind us of the strength and impact one person can have on the world.”

“Major League Baseball applauds the bipartisan legislation to designate Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona as a National Commemorative Site,” said April Brown, Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility, Major League Baseball. “Jackie’s transcendent legacy as a Hall of Fame player, activist and civil rights pioneer remains an inspiration to communities across our Nation.  We are proud to join Rachel and the Robinson family in supporting efforts to celebrate these important landmarks connected to Jackie’s history-making journey.”

“Jackie Robinson’s journey in professional baseball, where he became an American icon, started in Daytona in the ballpark which now bears his name, and it is appropriate that this location be recognized in this manner,” said Greg Rosenbaum, Chairman of Minor League Baseball’s Government Relations Committee. “Minor League Baseball is proud to have one of our most historic ballparks designated as a National Commemorative Site, and we appreciate the bipartisan support that made this piece of legislation possible.” 

“We are extremely honored to be entrusted with further stewarding the legacy of Jackie Robinson in Daytona Beach,” said Bob Fregolle, Co-owner & Operating Partner of the Daytona Tortugas. “This designation is greatly appreciated by the community here and will only strengthen his legacy for generations to come.”