04/15/07 11:53 AM ET
A fitting tribute to a legend
Many players, including all of the Dodgers, plan to wear No. 42
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
Barry Bonds of the Giants quickly accepted at the behest of Peter Magowan, the team's managing general partner, and others such as Minnesota's Torii Hunter, Jermaine Dye of the White Sox, Derrek Lee of the Cubs and Gary Sheffield of the Tigers are among the stars who have joined the group.The Yankees' Mariano Rivera, of course, has worn 42 since he joined the Yankees for good in 1995 and was among a handful of players grandfathered in when Selig retired Robinson's number. Rivera is the only remaining active player who still wears the number. "As a minority, I feel honored wearing the No. 42 and carrying the legacy that Jackie Robinson left," Rivera 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." Other teams such as the Pirates and Cardinals have also pledged their allegiance to Robinson and, like the Dodgers, will wear No. 42 as a full squad when they play on Sunday, Selig said. The Pirates play the Giants in Pittsburgh and the Cardinals are at home against the Brewers. "I think the players should wear it who want to wear it," Selig said. "On the Diamondbacks, there are four or five players who are going to do it. [Mets manager] Willie Randolph, I know, is very proud to wear it." The No. 42 jerseys will then all be auctioned with the proceeds going to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Expected to join Rachel Robinson for the ceremony is their daughter Sharon Robinson; several of Jackie's former teammates, including pitchers Don Newcombe and Tommy Lasorda -- the Hall of Fame former manager of the Dodgers and a consultant to the team; various baseball executives, civic and industry leaders; Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars, and winners of the Breaking Barriers Essay Contest. A series of baseball and softball clinics for kids hosted by the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) Program will be staged at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in nearby Compton, Calif., on Saturday morning. Dodgers Marlon Anderson and Juan Pierre will conduct the clinics and Frank Robinson plus former Dodgers Lou Johnson, Newcombe, Rudy Law and Ken Landreaux will also all be on hand. But the day will be forged in memory of Robinson and that magnificent No. 42. "Jackie Robinson was a Dodger," said Jamie McCourt, the club's president and vice chairman. "And the most fitting tribute the Dodgers can pay to him is for the entire team to wear his number on the 60th anniversary of his breaking the color barrier."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.