Team Italy wears number 42 jerseys at Jackie Robinson Training Complex and receives visit from Peter O'Malley

Team Italy wears number 42 jerseys at Jackie Robinson Training Complex and receives visit from Peter O'Malley
18/04/2021
The Olympic-bound Team Italy women's softball squad honored the legacy of Jackie Robinson by wearing number 42 jerseys on Excellence field at the in Vero Beach, Florida on April 18, 2021

The Olympic-bound Team Italy women's softball squad honored the legacy of Jackie Robinson by wearing number 42 jerseys on Excellence field at the in Vero Beach, Florida on April 18, 2021. Impressed by the Team Italy's commitment in keeping the memory of Jackie Robinson alive, Board of Director and former owner Peter O'Malley visited the Azzurre squad and posed for photos.

Team Italy manager Federico Pizzolini and Peter O'Malley in Vero Beach (Simone Amaduzzi)Team Italy captain Erika Piancastelli presented Mr. O'Malley with a softball signed by every player. In addition, the iconic international baseball ambassador received a banner as well as a Team Italy hat and jersey. Mr. O'Malley was deeply moved by the gesture and got even more emotional  when he learned how much Italians loved Jackie Robinson.

FIBS initiated in 2014 for primary, secondary and high school students in Italy as a way of introducing baseball and softball with Jackie Robinson's values of courage, determination, teamwork, persistence, integrity, citizenship, justice, commitment, and excellence. Reinforced by the popularity of the legendary film by Brian Hegeland, FIBS has worked closely with local-affiliated clubs, the federal office of sport and Italian schools to include Progetto 42 into daily curriculum. In addition, teacher training is available for professional development credits.

Educators learn the basics of baseball and watch 42 to understand the importance of racial integration in America. Progetto 42 puts teachers in touch with local baseball and softball clubs. Educators receive tips on how to include a multi-disciplinary field of study for their students which includes history, literature and physical education. Progetto 42 introduces students to the theme of integration through sports by showing and following up with a Q & A session featuring players who have successfully overcome cultural adversity and racial bias.

Upon the completion of the Progetto 42 course, students must pass an exam based covering the movie and the nine values of Jackie Robinson. Students are instructed on the basic principles of baseball and softball in hopes that they may continue playing the game for a local club. Progetto 42 was recognized in 2015 as one of the best educational programs by Fratelli di Sport (Brothers in Sport), which is jointly operated by the Ministry of Work and Social Politics and the Italian National Olympic Committee.

Team Italy wears #42 at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex (Roberto Angotti)The presence of Peter O'Malley at the Team Italy practice at the was quite significant. In 2012, he became the Chairman of Historic Dodgertown, the site of Dodger Spring Training from 1948-2008. Under father Walter O'Malley's leadership in 1948, Dodgertown became MLB’s first fully-integrated spring training site in the South. All Dodgers, including Jackie Robinson, were housed, dined and played together on the property. As Dodgertown Director in 1962, Walter O’Malley integrated Holman Stadium despite local opposition, When the Dodger franchise decided to move their Spring Training home to Arizona in 2008, the fate of the illustrious Dodgertown was uncertain.

Peter O'Malley saved famed Dodgertown from demise in 2012. Carrying on the family tradition and preserving the iconic history of Dodgertown, he transformed what was once a former World War II military base into a state-of-the-art training facility for high school, colleges, and international teams (including the ). took over the complex in late 2018 after signing a long-term lease with Indian River County. On April 2, 2019, the site was renamed the. One of the conditions Peter O'Malley made prior to handing off the day-today responsibility of the property to MLB was that he have his own room at the Vero Beach facility when he visited.

It was serendipitous that Peter O'Malley would be at the Vero Beach facility when Team Italy Spring Training would be taking place. With former Dodger and National Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza serving as manager for Team Italy, Peter O'Malley is undoubtedly a welcome friend of Italian baseball and softball. Forza #Italia! #PerEnrico

by Roberto Angotti