Did you know that the answer to the question “Who is Number 42 on the Yankees?” can be found on our blog? Check out our latest post to find out who it is!
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The Life and Times of Number 42
Derek Jeter will always be remembered as one of the greats to don the Yankees pinstripes. Jeter was born in Pequannock, New Jersey on June 26, 1974. He was drafted by the Yankees out of high school in 1992 and made his Major League debut in 1995. Jeter went on to play 20 seasons with the Yankees, winning five World Series titles. He retired in 2014 with a career batting average of .310.
Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play in Major League Baseball. He signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and played for them until he retired in 1957. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia, on January 31, 1919. He grew up in a family of sharecroppers and had to drop out of high school to help support his family. He served in the army during World War II and was later court-martialed for refusing to give up his seat on a military bus.
After his discharge from the army, Robinson began playing baseball for the Negro Leagues. He soon caught the attention of Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Rickey decided to sign Robinson to a minor league contract and then promote him to the major leagues, where he would become the first black player in over 60 years.
Robinson made his major league debut on April 15, 1947. He faced racism and discrimination from both players and fans, but he persevered and went on to have a successful career. In 1949, he was named National League Rookie of the Year and helped lead the Dodgers to a World Series victory. He was also named the league’s Most Valuable Player that year.
Robinson retired from baseball in 1957, but he remained active in civil rights causes until his death from a heart attack on October 24, 1972.
Mariano Rivera (born November 29, 1969), nicknamed “Mo” and “Sandman”, is a Panamanian former professional baseball pitcher who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees from 1995 to 2013. A thirteen-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, he is MLB’s career leader in saves (652) and games finished (952). Rivera spent most of his 19-year MLB career as a relief pitcher and helped the Yankees win five World Series championships.
Rivera was signed by the Yankees organization in Panama in 1990, and he debuted in the major leagues in 1995. Initially shunted to the bullpen, he became one of baseball’s most dominant setup men before assuming the closer role in 1997. In doing so, he established himself as one of baseball’s most reliable relievers; among pitchers with at least 500 career innings pitched, he has ranked first in fewest walks per nine innings pitched (1.71) and second in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.24). After winning savior honors in the 1999 World Series, Rivera permanent claim to the closer role with an outstanding 2001 campaign that earned him his first All-Star selection and Rolaids Relief Man Award. He went on to pitch eight more All-Star Games and capture five American League (AL) Rolaids Relief Man Awards.
As a result of his lengthy and successful tenure as Yankees closer, Rivera was nicknamed “Sandman” by Yankee fans, due to his entrance music “Enter Sandman” by Metallica; this also became a synonym for closers across baseball. He finished third regularly for both the AL Cy Young Award and AL Most Valuable Player Award during his prime years from 2001–04; he became only the second reliever after Rollie Fingers to place within Cy Young voting three years consecutively.Rivera’s aggregate 2.21 ERA over 950 appearances through 2013 is lower than that of all but six major league pitchers with at least 1,000 innings pitched since 1920 – Whitey Ford (.690), Lefty Grove (.691), Christy Mathewson (.696), Sandy Koufax (.755), Pedro Martinez (.766), Walter Johnson (.783). His 82 postseason appearances are tied with Jesse Orosco for second most all time among pitchers – Kent Tekulve made 141 – while his 141 ERA+ ranks fourth all time among pitchers with 100 or more innings pitched after Clayton Kershaw(161 ERA+), Martinez(154 ERA+), and Martyn Madden(150 ERA+).
In 2019, Major League Baseball introduced an annual award named after Rivera – The Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of The Year – which is given to one reliever from each league based on regular season performance. On December 2nd 2019 it was announced that Mariano Rivera would be inducted into National Baseball Hall of Fame wearing a New York Yankees cap – becoming only the second player unanimously voted into Cooperstown by ballots cast by eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America – joining former teammate Derek Jeter who gained induction in 2020.
The Significance of Number 42
Number 42 was retired by Major League Baseball in 1997 to honor Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in the Major Leagues. Every team in MLB wears Robinson’s number on their uniforms on Jackie Robinson Day, which is April 15th. The number has come to symbolize not only Robinson’s achievements, but also the progress made by African Americans in baseball and in society as a whole.
A Symbol of Hope
Designed by Yankee’s owner George Steinbrenner, the number 42 was retired throughout Major League Baseball in 1997 in honor of Jackie Robinson. Every year on April 15th, all players on every team wear number 42 in recognition of Robinson’s accomplishments on and off the field.
Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947, and his impact on the game was profound. He was an All-Star player who led the Brooklyn Dodgers to six World Series appearances, and he was named National League MVP in 1949. Off the field, Robinson was a vocal advocate for civil rights, and he used his platform to speak out against discrimination. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and his memory continues to inspire people around the world.
Yankee’s player Mariano Rivera is the last MLB player to wear number 42 full-time. He wore it proudly for 19 seasons, and he remains an active supporter of Robinson’s legacy. In 2015, Rivera helped launch the Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship program, which provides financial assistance to high-achieving students from underserved communities.
The number 42 is more than just a symbol of one man’s courageous fight against discrimination; it represents the power of hope and determination. Every time a player takes the field wearing Jackie Robinson’s number, they are carrying on his legacy and reminding us all that anything is possible.
A Symbol of Change
Number 42 was retired by every Major League team in 1997 to honor Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947. Today, it stands as a symbol of change and a reminder of how far we have come as a society.
In recent years, there has been a movement to get Major League Baseball to once again allow players to wear number 42 on their uniforms. Many believe that this would be a powerful gesture that would help to further bridge the racial divide in America.
So far, the league has not made any changes, but the discussion is ongoing. In the meantime, number 42 remains a special part of baseball history and a reminder of the progress that we have made as a country.
The Legacy of Number 42
Number 42 on the Yankees has been worn by many greats, including Jackie Robinson and Mariano Rivera. The number has been retired by the team, and its legacy lives on. Let’s take a look at the history of this iconic number.
Jackie Robinson Foundation
The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) is a national, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded in 1973 on the 40th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s history-making Major League debut. Its mission is to perpetuate Jackie Robinson’s legacy by supporting educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $70 million in scholarships and programmatic support to over 4,200 students attending over 250 colleges and universities across the country.
The JRF Scholars Program provides comprehensive four-year leadership development and scholarship support to academically distinguished minority high school students with demonstrated financial need who also exhibit leadership potential and a commitment to community service. Jackie Robinson Scholars are chosen through a rigorous application process that includes academic achievement, standardized test scores, an essay, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular involvement. Upon being selected as a Scholar, each student commits to four years of academic excellence, community service, and participation in JRF enrichment programs designed to develop their skills as leaders.
Mariano Rivera Foundation
The Mariano Rivera Foundation is a non-profit organization that was established in 2015 by baseball legend Mariano Rivera. The foundation’s mission is to provide support and assistance to children and families in need, with a focus on education and youth development programs.
The foundation has raised over $3 million dollars since its inception, and has helped countless children and families in need. In 2016, the foundation partnered with the New York Yankees to provide scholarships to students in the Bronx. In 2017, the foundation launched its “42 Kids” program, which provides mentorship and support to underprivileged children in New York City.
The legacy of number 42 will continue to live on through the work of the Mariano Rivera Foundation.