Jackie Robinson Day: 4 Facts About His No. 42 Jersey, Which Is Now Retired in Major League Baseball
In Major League Baseball, April 15 will be remembered as Jackie Robinson Day.
Jackie Robinson Day has been celebrated in baseball circles since its introduction in 2007. Today is Jackie Robinson’s 42nd birthday, and the nation honors her. Jackie Robinson was the man who helped to break baseball’s “color barrier” and pave the way for racial equality in the United States.
In honor of Jackie Robinson Day, here are four interesting facts about the famous number and its connection to the guy.
Before 42, Jackie Robinson wore different numbers.
The number 42 is one of the most recognizable in all of sports. It wasn’t, however, the only number Robinson wore in his life.
Robinson wore a variety of numbers in numerous sports before making his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, according to The New York Times.
Robinson wore the No. 28 on the football field for UCLA and the No. 18 on the basketball court.
He wore as many as three different numbers when playing for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues. Robinson may have worn Nos. 5, 8, and 23 according to different accounts.
According to reports, Robinson wore No. 10 when playing for the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ top farm team.
So, with the Brooklyn Dodgers, why did Jackie Robinson wear number 42? There is no definitive response, and it seems that the company would simply assign him the number.
It’s an interesting footnote considering how players today are keen on having a specific number, whether it’s the number they wore in high school or college, etc., but when the number was assigned to Jackie, no one seemed to realize the significance it would have to the sport.
Ken Griffey Jr. Is Responsible for Everyone Wearing 42 on Jackie Robinson Day
Every Jackie Robinson Day, MLB players, coaches and managers wear No. 42 to honor the man.
This wasn’t always the case, though, and Hall of Fame outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. actually began the trend of wearing the iconic number on the special day.
When then–MLB Commissioner Bud Selig retired No. 42 on April 15, 1997—50 years after Robinson’s MLB debut—Griffey, who was with the Seattle Mariners at the time, asked that. This is a brief summary.