MLB, Mets celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, honor Rachel Robinson at Citi Field in pregame ceremony


All across the league on Monday, MLB and its 30 teams celebrated “Jackie Robinson Day” on the 77th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier. Robinson debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, and every player on the field will wear his No. 42 in Dodgers blue Monday. No. 42 is of course retired league-wide on all other days.

The New York Mets welcomed Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s widow, to Citi Field for their game with the Pittsburgh Pirates. They presented Mrs. Robinson, who is 101 years young, with flowers on the field. Her grandson, Busro Robinson, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Butch Huskey, the last Mets player to wear No. 42 before it was retired in 1997.

“Just to be in her presence, knowing that Jackie’s presence is right there with her, is enough for me. Just to be able to hug her and say, ‘Hello,’ and ‘How you doing,’ that’s quite a bit,” Huskey said (via MLB.com). “… To be able to put the number on my back, to get the OK to wear it, and then have Mrs. Robinson’s blessing to wear the number, there’s not much more you could ask for.”

Born in Georgia and raised in California, Robinson lettered in four sports — baseball, track, football, and basketball — at UCLA, a record that will almost certainly never be matched. The first ever “Jackie Robinson Day” took place on April 15, 2004. His number No. 42 was universally retired on the 50th anniversary of his debut.

Each year several players across the league donate their April 15 gameday salaries to the Players Alliance, which works to promote Black participation at every level of organized baseball and a more diverse future for the sport.   

The last MLB player to ever wear Robinson’s No. 42 was Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera with the New York Yankees



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