NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Ground has been broken in New York City for the Jackie Robinson Museum after a 10-year wait caused by the Great Recession.
Rachel Robinson, the wife of the trailblazing Hall of Famer, attended Thursday’s ceremony in the SoHo section of Manhattan along with her daughter, Sharon, and baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.Robinson’s daughter Sharon said the museum means a lot to her family.”We’re excited, you know it’s my mom’s 95th birthday so I keep saying it’s like a birthday present to her, and this is the last big piece of the legacy that she wanted to make sure happened,” she told 1010 WINS’ Andrew Falzon.

As CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reported, the trailblazing Hall-of-Famer was known as much as a civil rights activist as he was a baseball player.

“I hope they’ll get an understanding of a complete life. My father only lived to be 53, but he accomplished so much in his lifetime,” Sharon said. “A lot of people don’t understand his role in the civil rights movement. It started when he broke the color barrier, but when you have a visual, in addition to reading about something, I think the kids will understand the totality of the man,” she continued.

About $23.5 million has been raised to build the museum, now scheduled to open in spring 2019. The Jackie Robinson Foundation hopes to raise a total of $42 million — matching Robinson’s uniform number — to fund an endowment that will pay for the museum’s operations.

In two years, it will be a bustling center with educational classes and activities adding cultural enrichment.

“There are a lot of American heroes. Jackie Robinson is in a class by himself,” Manfred said. “It really is impossible to do enough to recognize what he means, and continues to mean, to the process of change in the United States.”

As Overmyer reported, if Robinson were alive today, he would undoubtedly be proud of Derek Jeter’s efforts to buy the Florida Marlins.

“He said before he died he wanted to see an African-American manager. He never got to see that dream, but now we’re talking about having potentially a player that may be an owner,” Omar Minaya, of the MLB Players Association, said. “I think he’d be proud, to make sure that his dream continues to live.”

Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier 70 years ago this month in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He died in 1972.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)