How Many Teams Qualify For The World Cup 2018 Baseball Needs To Do More To Honor The History of Jackie Robinson’s Uniform Number

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Baseball Needs To Do More To Honor The History of Jackie Robinson’s Uniform Number

Last weekend, Major League Baseball celebrated, as it does one weekend every April, the player that Brownsville blocks in America’s city. In honor of Jackie Robinson, every person in uniform for every team wore 42, the number he wore In his Hall of Fame career with the Dodgers.

It’s a nice gesture but, after almost a decade of the same idea, wearing his shirt digits has gotten old. The Commissioner and other MLB executives need to find a more creative way to pay homage to Robinson’s legacy, which is all about diversity.

One simple idea would be to build on the current theme, the number forty two. Instead of just highlighting the accomplishments of that one player, baseball should give some attention to others who have worn it. That list not only has some of the game’s biggest stars, but also reflects the diversity of the sport today.

Among the most important of those is Curt Flood, whose fight for free agency has made him as much of a pioneer as Robinson. The former All-Star wore that number during his first season with the St. Louis Cardinals, after serving a year out of the game for refusing to accept a trade to Philadelphia.

Also on the list is the most memorable closer in the remarkable history of the New York Yankees, Mariano Rivera. Because he is retired for each team, he will be the last player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame while wearing that number. The talented reliever wore forty-two for nineteen years, almost twice as long as Robinson did.

Outfielder Dave Henderson, a prolific slugger for Seattle, Boston and Oakland, wore it for fourteen seasons as well as in three different World Series eras. Red Sox first baseman Mo Vaughn wore it for fourteen years, and was the last person to bat with 42 as his regular number.

When he faced Rivera on August 13, 2000, it marked the last time a pitcher and pitcher wore that number. Vaughn was playing for the Anaheim Angels when he came to the plate against Rivera in the eighth inning, and that routine fly marked the last time 42 would retire 42 except for today’s Robinson tribute game.

Veteran pitcher Rick Mahler rode it for twelve years, setting the record for consecutive Open Day starts. Right-hander Sonny Seibert, who spent most of his career with Cleveland and Boston, had more wins (142) than any other pitcher with those numbers on his uniform.

Chicago White Sox first baseman Ron Little was the only other player to be selected as Rookie of the Year while he had four in front of two on his jersey. Bruce Sutter is one of the few members of the Hall of Fame who regularly wore forty-two, which was on his jersey when he played for the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals.

By recognizing the variety of players who once shared Robinson’s number, baseball could show the diversity it has achieved since the color barrier was broken.

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