DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA)–The Danville Dans celebrated Juneteenth over the weekend by looking back at its history.
In 1947, the Brooklyn Dodgers, led by sports trailblazer Jackie Robinson, played at Danville Stadium for an exhibition game. Just a year prior, the Danville Stadium was just finished being built. Ever since 1946, the stadium and the Dans have been a local community staple.
The Dans franchise has had over 200 professional players on its roster throughout its 75 year history, and is one of the few stadiums from the 1940s to still be actively in use. The stadium’s co-owner Jeanie Cooke said they’ve remained successful because the team has given the local community so many memories.
“We hear stories everyday,” Cooke said. “Stuff like ‘my dad went to see the Brooklyn Dodgers play here, and saw Jackie’, or ‘when I was a little girl or boy I came there and watched major leaguers’.”
The Dans’ head coach Eric Coleman took time to reflect on the storied history the Dans have, and the larger than life impact of Jackie Robinson’s career. He said not only would he not be here, as well as so many others, without Robinson, but also said it’s surreal knowing that the Danville Stadium was one of the many stops Robinson made in his historic, barrier-breaking career.
“I tell the guys every year, ‘Hey Jackie Robinson played on this field’,” Coleman said. “So cherish the time you spend on this field because this is actually where someone was making history playing baseball.”