Major League Baseball Wednesday announced that all MLB players, coaches and umpires will once again wear Number 42 to honor the 63rd Anniversary and enduring impact of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier.
Continuing last season's inaugural effort, Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig has again invited all on-field personnel wear the number as a sign of unified, League-wide support of Jackie Robinson Day.
Commissioner Selig and Major League Baseball have celebrated Robinson's longstanding legacy as the first African-American to break the color barrier by retiring Robinson's number throughout the League in 1997 and, since 2004, dedicating April 15 as Jackie Robinson Day in his memory.
Robinson played his first Major League game at Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947 as a first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
"Jackie Robinson's incredible legacy continues to impact our society today," said Baseball Commissioner Selig. "Baseball's proudest moment was when Jackie took the field in 1947, so it is important to always remember him and his achievements. It is a privilege to pay tribute to the effect he had on baseball and our country by continuing to honor his Number 42."
All Clubs will commemorate Jackie Robinson Day. The Robinson family will join MLB in a special Jackie Robinson Day celebration at Yankee Stadium, prior to their 7:05 p.m. (ET) game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in a nationally televised game carried live by MLB Network. The on-field ceremony will include Rachel Robinson, Jackie's wife and Founder of the Jackie Robinson Foundation; their daughter Sharon Robinson, Vice Chair of the Foundation; and Jesse Simms, son of Sharon and Jackie's grandson, who will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The game will be called by Bob Costas and Jim Kaat.
"When Jack stepped onto Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947, he set a new course for American history both in the game and in society," said Rachel Robinson. "I am grateful that Major League Baseball continues to honor his enduring impact, along with the values he lived by, both on and off the baseball field."
Major League Baseball will be airing "42: Beyond a Number", a 30-second television ad that illustrates the significance of Robinson breaking the color barrier and mixes imagery of Robinson with that of today's players and on-field personnel wearing Number 42. The spot, which is the latest in the "This is Beyond Baseball" campaign, can be viewed here.
In recognition of Jackie Robinson Day, one Number 42 jersey from every Club will be signed and auctioned off on MLB.com, the official web site of Major League Baseball, with the proceeds benefitting the Jackie Robinson Foundation. The Foundation, established in 1973, provides, four-year college scholarships, graduate school grants and extensive mentoring to academically distinguished minority students with leadership capacity. MLB and the 30 Clubs sponsor more than 60 Jackie Robinson Scholars.
The Foundation strives to cultivate future leaders who will be ambassadors of Jackie Robinson's guiding life tenet, "A life is not important except in its impact on other lives." Major League Baseball and its Clubs are longstanding partners of the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
"The Jackie Robinson Foundation is proud to join with Major League Baseball to observe the 63rd anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier," said Jackie Robinson Foundation President and CEO Della Britton Baeza. "His courageous act reverberated across America and was a catalyst for change. JRF continues to promote his legacy by providing college scholarships, mentoring and leadership development opportunities to students who will serve as ambassadors of Jackie's values."
Clubs playing at home on Thursday, April 15 will recognize Jackie Robinson Day with special pregame ceremonies in their ballparks. To ensure that all Clubs have an opportunity to participate and celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, any Club that is not playing at home on April 15 will hold Jackie Robinson Day celebrations at their ballparks either on Friday, April 16 or during another homestand in April. All Clubs will use ceremonial home plates and lineup cards that will include the Jackie Robinson Day logo.
Major League Baseball has created and annually supports a number of programs to ensure that Jackie Robinson's legacy lives on, including Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life; Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) presented by KPMG and the Jr. RBI playing divisions; Diverse Business Partners; and the MLB Urban Youth Academy.