Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rachel Robinson Is Cool With Mariano Rivera, The Last #42

Rachel Robinson, with Henry Aaron and Mariano Rivera, earlier this year.

On Jackie Robinson Day in the majors, the NY Times ran a nice article referencing Rachel Robinson, Jackie's widow, who appreciates the fact that the Yankees' Mariano Rivera is the last MLBer to wear #42:

She had long wanted to meet him, but when they finally shook hands this past winter it was Mariano Rivera who was captivated by the presence of Rachel Robinson. He wears the number. She lived the legacy.

“It was wonderful,” he said. “I was honored.”

Rivera is the last of a dozen players who were allowed to continue to wear number 42 — made famous by Rachel Robinson’s husband, Jackie — when Major League Baseball retired it in 1997. It happened to be the same year Rivera became the Yankees’ closer.

Two years earlier, when the clubhouse attendant first handed Rivera his jersey, he was a 25-year-old Panamanian rookie with no idea that the number on the back symbolized the breaking of baseball’s color line on April 15, 1947.

But he has saved a few games over the last 13 years, always with a persistent professionalism. He grew nicely into greatness.

“Being the only one carrying the number right now, and forever, this means a lot to me,” Rivera said when asked about Thursday’s 63rd anniversary of Robinson’s big-league debut. [...]

The No. 42 jerseys will again be worn in major league parks, but only Rivera’s will be seen again and again, or with every jog in from the bullpen until, well, sometime within the next decade.

“I’ve been very pleased that he is the last one to wear Jack’s number,” Rachel Robinson said in a recent telephone interview. “I had admired Mariano Rivera for so long from afar.”

photo: Regina Fleming Photography via the NYTimes

8 comments:

Dusty Baker said...

OT, but: Astros win!

Paul said...

Wow a lot of history in that picture.

rbnlaw said...

Jackie Robinson is who made baseball and the Dodgers great.

Dusty Baker said...

RT @rbnlaw Jackie Robinson is who made baseball and the Dodgers great.

Jarone Ashkenazi said...

If any Dodgers fan wants to follow one of the best managers and probably most famous manager in Dodgers history, become a fan of Tommy Lasorda on his facebook page. The URL is: http://www.facebook.com/TommyLasorda

Dusty Baker said...

Mutts beat Rox.

Phiwwy BP imploding - Nats up!

rbnlaw said...

@DB: you mean another team can have pitching problems? I thought we had all the retreads?

rbnlaw said...

On this day, it should also be noted that Pee Wee Reese, a Southener, was one of the first to befriend Jackie during his historic season. If I'm not mistaken, Pee Wee was the one who gave Jackie the idea of bunting along the 1st baseline as a way of retaliating against pitchers who threw at his head.
When they went to field the bunt, Jackie, the former BRUIN football player, would knock the idiot pitcher into nest week.

I've seen some old newsreel footage of him doing it. It brought tears of joy to my eyes.