By Eugene Kane Senior Writer and Columnist Published Apr 15, 2013 at 5:05 PM

I've always admired the legacy and lessons that baseball great Jackie Robinson taught us.

He's being honored in big league ballparks all across MLB today. It's hard to think of a better person to have such recognition.

This year, he's also the subject of a Hollywood movie and even a children's play in Milwaukee.

It's good that every generation gets to learn about the sacrifices Robinson made in order to be the first African-American to integrate professional baseball.

I know his story well; I've always respected all facets of Robinson's life but also doubted if I could have put up with the in your face racism he encountered  during his playing career without ever retaliating. As the story goes, Robinson knew he had to take whatever abuse fans, sport writers and even other fellow baseball players dished  out in order for another black athlete to get the chance in later years.

The real lesson from Robinson's life is very similar to that of another icon, Martin Luther King Jr., who also used non-violence to show the way to equality for future generations.

It's been well reported that there aren't as many African-Americans playing major league baseball today as 50 years ago. That's not due to racism; top black athletes have many other choices. MLB should take some of the blame for not doing enough outreach in some black communities, too.

But the true legacy of Robinson had much more to do with society than sports. It was about not letting prejudice and racism deny anyone opportunity if they were good enough to do the job.

That's why on this day - and every day - we should honor Jackie Robinson.

Eugene Kane Senior Writer and Columnist

Eugene Kane is veteran Milwaukee journalist and nationally award winning columnist.

Kane writes about a variety of important issues in Milwaukee and society that impact residents of all backgrounds.