Pride nights at major sporting events have become as American as apple pie.

Major League Baseball has made huge strides in recent years in recognizing LGBTQ fans and players. Only the Angels and the Yankees haven't yet held Pride events. But with the Angels announcing plans to host Pride Night in June 2019, the sea change is almost complete.

It's a rapidly accelerating culture of acceptance for a sport that as recently as 2015 faced backlash from fans in one city that hosted its first Pride night. But even that story had a positive ending. The Chicago Cubs are believed to have held the first Pride Night in 2001 and are one of at least 11 teams to sell official Pride merchandise at games.

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As the pioneer and historical face of desegregation in sports, Jackie Robinson experienced taunts and death threats at every point of his Major League career as the first black player admitted to the league.

His bravery and persistence in the name of equal rights have been well-documented and honored not just in baseball history, but in the larger context of the struggle to end the disparate treatment of black citizens endemic to American institutions.

But Robinson’s success, in no slight to his considerable achievement, came as the result of the road paved by many less-celebrated predecessors, who, through their careers in the Negro Leagues, brought a resolve and speed to the game unmatched by their Major League counterparts.

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Back in 2015, then-5-year-old Hailey Dawson threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game.

Born with a rare congenital condition called Poland Syndrome, Hailey was born with just two fingers on her right hand. The engineering department at the University of Nevada Las Vegas helped craft a special 3D-printed hand for her, allowing her to grip and throw a baseball, something she might have otherwise not been able to do.

GIF from Fox Sports/YouTube.

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