NEW YORK – All players, coaches and umpires will wear No. 42 on Wednesday to honor Jackie Robinson on the 62nd anniversary of the day he broke major league baseball’s color barrier.
More than 330 players, managers and coaches — including nine entire teams — wore Robinson’s No. 42 last year to celebrate the Hall of Famer’s accomplishments, and commissioner Bud Selig requested all on-field personnel wear the number this year for the first time.
“With all major league players, coaches and umpires wearing Jackie’s No. 42, we hope to demonstrate the magnitude of his impact on the game of baseball,” Selig said in a written statement Monday. “Major League Baseball will never forget the contributions that Jackie made both on and off the field.”
Robinson broke the color barrier when he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers for the first time on April 15, 1947. He died in 1972, and his number was retired for all major league teams during ceremonies at Shea Stadium attended by President Bill Clinton on the 50th anniversary. Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera is the only player remaining from then who still wears No. 42 throughout the season.
Clubs will hold pregame ceremonies across the country Wednesday to pay tribute to Robinson. Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s wife, and other members of Robinson’s family are scheduled to attend the celebration at Citi Field, where the Jackie Robinson Rotunda serves as the central entrance to the New York Mets’ new ballpark.
“When Jack stepped foot on the field on April 15, 1947, and broke the color barrier in baseball, he became a catalyst for social change in America,” Rachel Robinson said. “On behalf of our family and the Jackie Robinson Foundation, it remains an honor that Major League Baseball is ensuring that Jack’s achievements for baseball and society will not be forgotten by future generations.”
The Associated Press