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The only day MLB players can wear No. 42? Jackie Robinson Day

KRON San Francisco logo KRON San Francisco 4/15/2022 Addy Bink, Nexstar Media Wire
The only day MLB players can wear No. 42? Jackie Robinson Day © Provided by KRON San Francisco The only day MLB players can wear No. 42? Jackie Robinson Day

(NEXSTAR) – If you watch MLB games closely, you might notice not a single player wears No. 42. There’s one exception to this, when every MLB player wears No. 42 on the same day – Jackie Robinson Day.

Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947, as he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers. While those playing in the MLB weren’t even alive when Robinson made his debut, the league honors his legacy every year on April 15.

On Jackie Robinson Day, every player and on-field personnel don the number Robinson wore, 42, which was retired by the league in 1997. This year, to mark the 75th anniversary of Robinson’s debut, the No. 42 on every team’s jersey will be Dodger blue, regardless of the team’s primary colors.

The MLB has been honoring Jackie Robinson Day every year since 2004, with all players and on-field personnel wearing No. 42 on April 15 every year since 2009.

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There will be additional tributes throughout the day on Friday as well. In New York, 42nd Street will temporarily be named Jackie Robinson Way. A sign will be placed at 42nd and Broadway in the afternoon and will then be taken to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

In Los Angeles, Jackie’s widow, Rachel (who’s turning 100 this year), will be in attendance at Dodgers Stadium as the Dodgers play the Cincinnati Reds. Before the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will bring his team to the Robinson statue outside the main, center-field entrance to pay tribute to Robinson, Nexstar’s KTLA reports.

Robinson was born in Cairo, Ga., in 1919. He attended college at UCLA, where he was named to the All-American football team, but was forced to leave due to financial difficulties, the biography on his website reads. Robinson then enlisted in the Army, but his career was cut short after being court-martialed for objecting to “incidents of racial discrimination.” He ultimately left with an honorable discharge.

Slideshow: Jackie Robinson

  • UCLA quarterback Jackie Robinson, the college’s first student-athlete to earn varsity letters in four different sports, leaps in the air to throw a pass. After college, Robinson would become the first African American to play in Major League baseball, playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Los Angeles, California, ca. 1940s-1950s. (Getty) © Provided by WDTN Dayton UCLA quarterback Jackie Robinson, the college’s first student-athlete to earn varsity letters in four different sports, leaps in the air to throw a pass. After college, Robinson would become the first African American to play in Major League baseball, playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Los Angeles, California, ca. 1940s-1950s. (Getty)
  • (Original Caption) Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers, first Negro ever to play in a World Series, slides into second with stolen base in the first inning of opening game at Yankee Stadium. Phil Rizzuto, Yankees shortstop, reaches for the low throw from catcher Yogi Berra. The umpire is Rommel. (Getty) © Provided by WDTN Dayton (Original Caption) Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers, first Negro ever to play in a World Series, slides into second with stolen base in the first inning of opening game at Yankee Stadium. Phil Rizzuto, Yankees shortstop, reaches for the low throw from catcher Yogi Berra. The umpire is Rommel. (Getty)
  • Jackie Robinson (right) of the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the color barrier this season as the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues, crosses home plate after hitting his first home run as a Dodger, off New York Giants’ pitcher Dave Rosolo. Teammate Tommy Tatum, next up to bat, offers a congratulatory handshake as Giants catcher Walker Cooper looks on. The Giants opened their home season at the Polo Grounds with a victory over the Dodgers. (Getty) © Provided by WDTN Dayton Jackie Robinson (right) of the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the color barrier this season as the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues, crosses home plate after hitting his first home run as a Dodger, off New York Giants’ pitcher Dave Rosolo. Teammate Tommy Tatum, next up to bat, offers a congratulatory handshake as Giants catcher Walker Cooper looks on. The Giants opened their home season at the Polo Grounds with a victory over the Dodgers. (Getty)
  • (Original Caption) 7/18/1949-Washington, DC: Brooklyn second baseman Jackie Robinson testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee on the loyalty of American Blacks. (Getty) © Provided by WDTN Dayton (Original Caption) 7/18/1949-Washington, DC: Brooklyn second baseman Jackie Robinson testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee on the loyalty of American Blacks. (Getty)
  • (Original Caption) Jackie Robinson, the baseball player honored by Sports Magazine, as “Man of the 25 Years” or top performer, is shown in this photograph. (Getty) © Provided by WDTN Dayton (Original Caption) Jackie Robinson, the baseball player honored by Sports Magazine, as “Man of the 25 Years” or top performer, is shown in this photograph. (Getty)
  • (Original Caption) Smiling Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color line in 1947, holds a plaque after he was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame here 7/23. (Getty) © Provided by WDTN Dayton (Original Caption) Smiling Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color line in 1947, holds a plaque after he was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame here 7/23. (Getty)

In 1945, Robinson played in the Negro Baseball League for the Kansas City Monarchs. Two years later, Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers.

After nine seasons with the Dodgers, Robinson retired following the 1956 season. He went on to work as the vice president for personnel at Chock Full O’ Nuts, a restaurant chain in New York, and became a Civil Rights icon, according to the Library of Congress.

Robinson passed away on October 24, 1972.

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