*Jackie Robinson Day was celebrated in Major League Baseball yesterday with every player in uniform sporting his cherished No. 42, honoring the day he broke baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The League officially retired No. 42 on the 50th anniversary in 1997, but players who already had it were allowed to keep it for the remainder of their career. New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is the only player to still have it, and is distinctly aware of what it means.
“It’s a privilege, an honor, to be the last one to wear 42, it’s a blessing for me,” Rivera told the Associated press. “I definitely have a job to do to represent him well.”
In a brief ceremony before the Yankees hosted the Los Angeles Angels Thursday (April 15), Robinson’s widow, Rachel, their daughter, Sharon, and two medical school students on scholarships provided by the Jackie Robinson Foundation were honored near home plate.
A tribute to his legacy was shown on the videoboard and the Yankees’ Robinson Cano and Marcus Thames presented Rachel Robinson with a bouquet of flowers. When the public address announcer introduced the starting lineups, every player was “number 42.”
Robinson’s grandson, Jesse Simms, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.