Before Ellsbury, Before Kemp, Before Ichiro, Mo and Thomas. Before Gywnn, before Ozzie, Before Murray and Carew. Before Frank, Before Ernie, Before Aaron and Mays. There was Jackie.
Those words are narrated by the great Vin Scully in a new PSA from MLB for Jackie Robinson day which takes place across Major League Baseball today. You can read the press release by MLB about Jacking Robinson day here.
Number 42 will again be the magic number throughout baseball today, especially at Yankee Stadium, in a 65th anniversary tribute to Jackie Robinson’s first major league game.
Every player and everyone else in uniform throughout the big leagues will wear No. 42 in honor of Robinson, who broke baseball’s racial barrier for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. His number was retired for all teams during a ceremony at Shea Stadium on the 50th anniversary in 1997, a service attended by then-President Bill Clinton, commissioner Bud Selig and Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s widow.
The latter will be at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night for another Jackie Robinson Day ceremony before the start of the 8:05 p.m. game against the Angels (ESPN). The Robinsons’ daughter Sharon also will be on the field, after having helped host an afternoon youth baseball clinic at Macombs Dam Park, across the street from the Stadium.
New York Yankees star center fielder Curtis Granderson will wear a pair of specially designed shoes, with a No. 42 logo. The shoes will be donated and auctioned to raise funds for the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Jackie Robinson’s contributions to baseball and beyond are far greater than any home run record or All-Star appearances. In my mind, his contributions to society speak volumes about who he was as a man, not just a baseball player. In my opinion, Jackie Robinson should be mentioned in the same breath as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks.
Baseball has recognized his contributions far and wide and not just on the diamond and between the chalk lines. Long after his playing career ended, Jackie Robinson continued to fight inequality, we should continue to follow in his footsteps.