Once again, the Dodgers — all of them — will be wearing the famous No. 42 on Monday night at Dodger Stadium in honor of one of their own. It’s the 66th anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson put on a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform in a regular-season game for the first time, thus integrating Major League Baseball forever.
Robinson will be honored in each of the nine ballparks where games will be played again this April 15, but the main ceremony will be staged in Chavez Ravine for the first time since 2007. The revamped ballpark is more than six decades and 3,000 miles removed from Flatbush and tiny Ebbets Field, where Robinson went out to play first base for dem Bums. On that epic day in 1947 in front of 26,623, Robinson reached base on a throwing error, scored a run, the Dodgers defeated the Boston Braves, and the grand old game was never the same.
In 1997, under the direction of Commissioner Bud Selig, Robinson’s No. 42 was retired across all of Major League Baseball in an unprecedented tribute.Joey Votto Authentic Jersey.
After Ken Griffey Jr., then with the Reds, requested and was granted permission by Selig to wear 42, the practice gradually became widespread around Major League Baseball, and now everyone wears it on April 15. Mariano Rivera of the Yankees is the only player still actively using it. He was grandfathered in, and his 42 will be retired next year by the Yankees after the great reliever throws his final pitch at the end of this season, one of their top executives said.
The wearing of No. 42 seems even more apropos than ever this year, only days after release of the movie “42” that largely details and dramatizes Robinson’s travails playing baseball during the 1947 season. It’s also incredibly apropos that the Dodgers, now under new ownership, will be the center of attention on Monday night again before their game against the Padres.
“This is good. I always like it when we do it,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said this week. “Obviously, we’re his team, you know? I know everybody wears 42, but when we’re wearing it, it’s even more significant. He played for this organization. It just seems like we’re the one tied to him. It’s pretty cool, actually.”
It was general manager Branch Rickey, intent on shattering MLB’s 20th century-long color barrier, who chose Robinson to lead the charge of great black players to adorn Dodger blue in Brooklyn. Robinson was followed by Roy Campanella, Joe Black, Junior Gilliam and Don Newcombe.
Newcombe, now 86, still works for the Dodgers in community relations and will be in attendance for the ceremony.
Former Lakers greats Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will also be there. So will Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s seemingly ageless widow and the founder of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which offers college scholarships to underprivileged minority students. Her daughter, Sharon, has taken a more central role in the foundation, works for MLB and will also be front and center. Robinson is survived by Rachel and two children.
Johnson Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds Jersey is part of the ownership group that bought the team this past May 1 for $2.15 billion. He’s the first African-American in a top ownership role for a Major League team. Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer who won five NBA titles with Magic and the Lakers and one with the Milwaukee Bucks, wrote the forward to MLB.com’s recent eBook entitled, “Fortitude: The Exemplary Life of Jackie Robinson.”
Harrison Ford, the actor who played Rickey in the new movie — and is a dead-ringer for the Hall of Fame baseball executive — is scheduled to throw out the first pitch.
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During this recent Spring Training in Glendale, Ariz., it was Dodgers All-Star center fielder Matt Kemp who gathered all the team’s players and executives to view the movie at a local theater.
“I like [the movie]. I learned a lot. It was a great experience for all of us,” Mattingly said. “Any time you see things on the big screen, it’s a lot different, much larger than life. You read about him and you’ve heard about him, but that was a totally different thing, especially seeing it in that setting, too. Our whole organization was there. Maury Wills was there, so many guys who’ve been part of our organization for a long time. It was something to be a part of that.”
With Selig’s blessing, Griffey led the charge to wear 42, and after the Dodgers wore it in mass for the 60th anniversary, other teams began picking it up until the practice became commonplace.
Rivera has always been honored to wear the number and his Yankees teammate, Robinson Cano, wears 24 in obvious homage to the player he was named after.
“As a minority, I feel honored wearing the No. 42 and carrying the legacy that Jackie Robinson left,” Rivera Joey Votto Cincinnati Reds Jersey said. “I wear it with good pride. That’s the way it goes. All the guys retired or left, and I’m still carrying the number. I feel blessed for that.”
Omar Minaya, now senior vice president of baseball operations with the Padres, became the first Latin general manager in baseball history when Selig appointed him to run the MLB-owned Montreal Expos back in 2002. Minaya teamed with manager Frank Robinson, a Hall of Fame player who became the first black big league skipper with the Indians in 1975. With the Expos, Minaya and Robinson were fused as the first minority tandem to run a Major League organization and stayed together until Minaya took the same job with the Mets and the Expos franchise moved to Washington in 2005. Frank Robinson is now an MLB vice president of baseball operations.
Minaya said he owes it all to Jackie Robinson, who integrated baseball long before the military, the repeal of Jim Crow laws in the south and the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. Joey Votto Baseball Jersey.
“When I think about Jackie, he impacted our entire society, not only baseball,” Minaya said. “Through baseball, he was able to open up our society. Jackie in a lot of ways started other movements and to a certain extent led the way for Barack Obama to be president. But the most important thing about Jackie is how he went about it. His impact will be felt for generations to come.”
It’s no small irony that in his dying days, Robinson became frustrated by having to use his stature to lobby baseball to hire minorities for on-field and executive management positions.
After Rickey and Walter O’Malley split because of financial issues in the early 1950s, Robinson’s relationship with the Dodgers owner was never good. O’Malley tried to trade Robinson to the hated New York Giants after the 1956 season, and upon that move, Robinson decided to retire rather than play regularly at the Polo Grounds. The two teams moved west in 1957, and the rift lasted for many years.
There was a method, though, to Rickey’s development strategy. Primarily because the Dodgers were at the forefront of signing minority players, they dominated the National League from 1947 to 1966, winning 11 pennants and the World Series four times.
The Dodgers are the only team in the Majors that retires just the numbers of their Hall of Famers. Robinson was elected to the shrine in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1962. It wasn’t until 10 years later that O’Malley officially retired No. 42 during a ceremony at Dodger Stadium, the same facility where he will be honored again posthumously on Monday night.
On the 25th anniversary of Robinson cracking the color barrier in 1972, there was no ceremony offered by baseball to honor his incredible life.Joey Votto Replica Jersey. That wouldn’t become an annual staple for another 25 years.
Despite the decades of acrimony, Robinson, sick with diabetes, heart disease and almost legally blind, agreed to attend the ceremony at Dodger Stadium on June 4, 1972, after a long absence. On the same day, the Dodgers retired the numbers of Sandy Koufax and the wheelchair-bound Campanella, who was paralyzed in an automobile accident.
Robinson passed away at 53 only a little more than four months later.