The New York Yankees are once again donning the number 42 on their jerseys in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. Here’s a look at why this tradition is so important to the team.
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The day Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson stepped onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn to play first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first black man to play in Major League Baseball. It was a watershed moment in American history, and one that would change the game of baseball forever.
In honor of Jackie Robinson Day, every player on every team in Major League Baseball wears his number – 42 – during all games played on April 15th. It’s a small way to remember the great man and what he accomplished, both on and off the field.
Why the number 42 was retired by every MLB team
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson made history when he became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball. In honor of Robinson’s legacy, every team in MLB wears his iconic number 42 on their jerseys on April 15th each year. This tradition began in 2009, and has since become an annual event to commemorate Robinson’s contribution to baseball and civil rights.
The importance of Jackie Robinson’s legacy
On Jackie Robinson Day, all Major League Baseball players wear the number 42 in honor of the man who broke baseball’s color barrier. Why is his legacy so important?
Jackie Robinson was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia. He grew up in Pasadena, California, where he excelled in track and baseball. After serving in the Army during World War II, Robinson joined the Negro Leagues. In 1947, he was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers and became the first African American to play Major League Baseball.
Robinson faced racism and discrimination throughout his career but persevered to become one of the greatest players in baseball history. He was a six-time All-Star and was named Rookie of the Year in 1947. He won the National League MVP award in 1949 and was a key member of the Dodgers’ 1955 World Series championship team. He retired from baseball in 1957 and became a successful businessman.
Robinson’s legacy goes beyond his on-field accomplishments. He is celebrated for his courage and for breaking down barriers for African American athletes. In 1997, Major League Baseball retired his uniform number throughout the league to honor his memory and significant contribution to the game.
The Yankees’ decision to wear 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson made his major league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African American to play in the majors. To honor Robinson’s achievement and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his debut, Major League Baseball (MLB) is retireing Robinson’s uniform number — 42 — across all of its teams. The Yankees are one of those teams, and on Tuesday they became the last team to don 42 on their uniforms.
The decision to wear 42 was made by Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who approached MLB about getting special permission to have his team wear the number. “I think it’s important that we remember what he went through and the sacrifice that he made for all of us to be able to be here today,” Jeter said about Robinson. “I’m just happy that Major League Baseball is honoring him the way they are.”
All of the players on the Yankees’ roster will wear 42 on Tuesday, as will manager Joe Girardi and his coaching staff. New York’s opponents — the Tampa Bay Rays — will also have every player wearing 42. Jackie Robinson Day is now an annual event in MLB, with all players across the league wearing 42 on April 15th in honor of Robinson’s legacy.