The New York City Department of Transportation ended Black History Month with a huge blunder.
The municipal agency misspelled the name of the first African-American to play Major League Baseball in the modern era, Jackie Robinson, on one of its signs for the 5-mile thoroughfare that runs from Jamaica Avenue in Brooklyn through to the Grand Central Parkway in Kew Gardens.
The road sign read “Jakie Robinson Parkway,” leaving the “c” out of the Baseball Hall of Famer’s tribute. On Sunday, Feb. 26, people started to notice the error. The botched sign features a picture of Robinson in a classic batter’s pose above the text and is located at Myrtle Avenue and Forest Park Drive, according to the NY Post.
Queens Councilman Robert Holden blasted the DOT for misspelling the Brooklyn Dodgers name.
“Not only can’t the central planners at NYC DOT move traffic smoothly and safely, but they can’t even spell. The DOT needs a major overhaul. They’re a mess,” he tweeted.
The politician also said to the press “This spelling mistake is absurd. You don’t have a few eyes looking at these signs? DOT is a mess.”
Adding, “This is a slap in the face. Jackie Robinson means a lot to me. I was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan!”
Many others were outraged.
“It does not make sense that a sign on the Jackie Robinson Parkway in Queens spells his first name Jakie,” another tweeted.
Glendale native Kira Incantalupo called the sign “embarrassing.”
“It’s embarrassing,” Incantalupo said. “Poor Jackie Robinson. That shouldn’t have happened. I mean, nobody wants to have that. It’s a memorial for somebody. It should be corrected.”
Quana Martin, a local Queens resident, said, “I just feel it’s a little odd because how do you not know how to spell his name? He’s a well-known figure.”
JP Ward, a teen from the area, said the mistake was “f##king stupid.”
“I wouldn’t say it’s disrespectful, but it’s definitely stupid,” the 17-year-old concluded.
The next day, according to CBS News, Department of Transportation spokesperson Scott Gastel said the sign was replaced.
Before it was renamed in 1997, the Jackie Robinson Parkway was known as the Interboro Parkway. The city renamed the strip to honor the 50th anniversary of his historic rookie season when he broke the color-line barrier in 1947 as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers team.
The same year of the renaming MLB commissioner Bud Selig permanently retired Robinson’s number 42. No player after Mariano Rivera, who had already had the number before the late 1990s, will ever play wearing the number.
In 1947, when Robinson joined the MLB, he was named the MLB Rookie of the Year after batting .297, hitting 12 home runs, and stealing 29 bases. Two years later in 1949, Robinson became the MLB’s Most Valuable Player, batting .342.
During his career, he made the All-Star team six times. Over those 10 years he played professionally in the MLB, he hit.313.
Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, ten years before his death in 1972.