Dodgers to wear Robinson’s No. 42
To honor the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, all 25 Dodgers players will wear the former Brooklyn Dodgers infielder’s No. 42 on April 15.
The first Angels player asked by the team to wear the number declined.
Outfielder Garret Anderson said that although he has a great appreciation for Robinson, he won’t do it because Ken Griffey Jr., among others, thought of it first.
“It wasn’t my idea, and I’m not the type of person to jump on the bandwagon because someone else is doing something,” Anderson said. “If I did it just because someone else was doing it, it would seem kind of empty to me.”
The Dodgers have been tossing around ideas for months and by Wednesday afternoon decided not to get hung up on who thought of wearing No. 42 first. Major League Baseball issued a news release Wednesday saying that Commissioner Bud Selig had granted Griffey permission.
“Jackie Robinson was a Dodger, and the most fitting tribute the Dodgers can pay him is for the entire team to wear his number on the 60th anniversary of his breaking the color barrier,” Dodgers President Jamie McCourt said.
During spring training, center fielder Juan Pierre and utility player Marlon Anderson discussed with team officials ideas on how to honor Robinson, whose wife, Rachel, will be part of pregame ceremonies at Dodger Stadium on April 15.
Pitcher Brett Tomko, an accomplished artist, will present her with his original charcoal sketch of Robinson sliding into a base. Each fan in attendance will receive a copy.
Griffey wore No. 42 on the 50th anniversary, and thought it would be appropriate to do it again. Baseball retired the number 10 years ago as a way of honoring Robinson’s contribution to the game.
Griffey said he called Selig to tell him of his desire to wear it again, and Selig ended up approving the plan and raising the idea of allowing other players to wear No. 42.
“He asked me did I mind?” Griffey said. “I said no. I think everybody should be able to wear it.”
An Angels player will wear No. 42, spokesman Tim Mead said. Center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. is receptive to the idea but the team wanted to inform the commissioner’s office before making an official announcement.
Times staff writer Mike DiGiovanna and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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