Orioles to honor Robinson on Saturday
Patterson to don No. 42 as part of rain-delayed tribute
Rain delayed Baltimore's tribute to Jackie Robinson, but it won't cancel it altogether. The Orioles have announced that they'll honor Robinson on Saturday during their game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Baltimore, which was scheduled to host Kansas City, had originally planned the festivities for April 15, the 60-year anniversary of Robinson's first big-league game.
Six days later, the tributes will all run as they'd been planned. Center fielder Corey Patterson will wear Robinson's No. 42, which is the only jersey number retired league-wide. That honor was bestowed by the league 10 years ago, but the restriction was lifted for a day to allow players a chance to honor Robinson's historic legacy.
"It means a great deal to me," Patterson said earlier in the month. "Because, obviously, if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be in this locker room right now. In all the other sports, who knows if all the African-Americans would be playing as well. For the struggles he had to go through, I can only imagine.
"People always ask me if in my life there was one person I could [choose] to talk to, and it would be him. Baseball's a very mental game, and not only did he have to worry about playing the game, but also the stuff he had to deal with off the field. I'd want to see how he dealt with that and how he stayed strong mentally."
Baltimore will also stage a video tribute to Robinson and recognize Aurelia Mitchell, a local Jackie Robinson Foundation scholar. Forty kids from the Baltimore chapter of the RBI Program -- short for Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities -- will also be hosted by the team. The Baltimore league will have more than 20 teams and 250 players this year.
Both the Orioles and Royals will use commemorative lineup cards and helmets featuring a special Jackie Robinson Day logo, and the bases will have special "jewels" with the logo. It's all in tribute to Robinson, one of the all-time great pioneers in civil rights for both the game and society.
"He's somebody special to a lot of people in the game. Period," Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo said of Robinson in the days leading up to the anniversary. "Actually, all of us. The guys that get a chance to [wear his number] have to feel really honored that they get that opportunity."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.