42 in 2013

robinson-day

Yesterday, all of Major League Baseball played with a heavy heart, celebrating the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. Unfortunately, on the 66th anniversary of this historic day, an unfortunate tragedy struck in Boston during the Boston Marathon. The events that transpired in Boston, coupled with what the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, had the sports world coming together as a whole.

Jackie Robinson Day was established by Major League Baseball to commemorate the day Jackie Robinson made his Major League Debut back in 1947. It ended 80 years of baseball segregation, and he became the first black player to break the color barrier. Before #42 was worn widespread by all of Major League Baseball (more of that later) many African-American players in the past chose to wear it on Jackie Robinson Day, to pay their respects to a player they viewed as their inspiration for playing baseball. Ken Griffey Jr was one of the first players to wear 42 to honor the late Jackie Robinson back in 1997.

An early glimpse of Griffey Jr. wearing 42 to honor Jackie Robinson

An early glimpse of Griffey Jr. wearing 42 to honor Jackie Robinson back on April 15, 1997.

Last friday, the movie titled “42” came out, the first major studio picture on the Jackie Robinson story. While I have not seen the movie just yet, it is amazing that they finally came out with a movie about this his inspirational struggle. The story should have been put on the big screen a while ago but nonetheless, I am excited to see it. Trailer below.

The number 42 was retired by all of Major League Baseball back in 1997, the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. Commissioner Bud Selig had ordered that no future players would be able to wear the number 42., although players who were already wearing #42 could continue to wear the number. The last player who wears #42, Mariano Rivera, will be retiring at the end of this season and the number will only be worn on this holiday in MLB.

Mariano Rivera is the last Major Leaguer to wear #42

Mariano Rivera is the last Major Leaguer to wear #42

Jackie Robinson’s impact on the sport is still being felt to this day. He inspired many through his courage and perseverance. Bud Selig said it best, “I have often stated that baseball’s proudest moment and its most powerful social statement came on April 15, 1947 when Jackie Robinson first set foot on a Major League Baseball field. On that day, Jackie brought down the color barrier and ushered in the era in which baseball became the true national pastime.”

Not only did he help with the integration of baseball, but it helped the country deal with race as a whole. While his impact was not truly felt for 50 years, the whole world has changed because of the courage that Jackie Robinson showed us. Without him, many of us, including myself would not have had the chance to play the sport of baseball. We salute you Jackie, and thank you for everything you sacrificed for us.

Jackie Robinson Day la-sp-0416-dodgers-notes-20130416-001 Rays Red Sox Baseball

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  1. The events in Boston are sad and unfortunate. It certainly is a testament to the greatness and the goodness of the sports world that there can be such a coming together in response to the tragedy and that we can simultaneously celebrate such a great figure in history.

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