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April 15, 2009 at 10:59 am ET
Mariano Rivera, Others to Wear No. 42 Today

U1093393AINPOn this date 62 years ago, Jackie Robinson changed both baseball and the world when he broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier.

Through the courageous undertaking, Robinson endured unimaginable racism, death threats to himself and his family, and shouldered a responsibility to an entire race who sought more rights. That’s why I’m happy to see Major League Baseball requiring all of its uniformed employees to don No. 42 jerseys in Robinson’s honor today.

There’s no telling what professional baseball and our entire country would be like today had it not been for Robinson’s struggles 62 years ago. His selfless accomplishment opened the door for all-time greats lime Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson and Ozzie Smith, as well as contemporary stars like Ken Griffey Jr., CC Sabathia and half of Grady Sizemore.

The jersey gesture in itself is a small and belated one. But it’s good to see Major League Baseball using every April 15 to remind fans and players of Jackie Robinson opposed to every 5th of 10th year. Hopefully 62 years from now, when I’m long dead from a strain of gout that has yet to be discovered, players like Prince Fielder IV and – somehow – a still acitve John Smoltz will continue to wear No. 42 to honor a hero.

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3 Responses to “Mariano Rivera, Others to Wear No. 42 Today”
  1. B.E. Earl says:

    I thought it was a great idea a few years back when Kid Griffey asked Selig if he could wear #42 to honor Jackie. So did Selig. If I were a player I would want to honor him as well by wearing his number this day. And if I were a manager or owner I would fully support any of my players who chose to honor the man in this fashion.

    But to have it come down as a mandate from King Selig is another thing. This is just another way for him and MLB to pat themselves on the back at the expense of a true baseball (and life) hero and as a way to distance themselves from the disgraceful actions of their predecessors.

    The way that this started and the way that it grew was a grassroots movement and that is how I wanted it to remain. Who knows? Maybe every single player would have decided on their own to wear #42 to honor Jackie. That would have been cool. I would have liked to have seen that.

    This? Nah. It’s Selig working the PR machine and I don’t like it.

  2. Cam Martin says:

    I think mandating it actually saves players from feeling the pressure of having to wear it. I mean, it looked strange when a handful of guys (some white, some black, some Canadian) were wearing the number to honor Robinson, while others weren’t. It’s better to take the political decision out of their hands entirely. I always thought the Griffey thing was grandstanding. It’s like, “Look at me, I’m more thoughtful than everyone else, and I’m going to ask for special permission to honor Robinson.” Looked like a kiss ass move. And that, to me, was lamer PR than what Selig is doing.

  3. Dirty Water says:

    So when will ballplayers be required to wear #5, for Greenberg?

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