20 years ago today something that has never happened before and that will probably never happen again occurred. Bill Clinton, president of the USA at the time, Bud Selig, commissioner of the MLB at the time, and Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson's wife, strutted out from behind the wall in centerfield all the way to home plate. It was then announced that the #42 was going to be forever retired across major league baseball, an honor only Jackie Robinson deserves. The great #42 was still worn for years after by Mariano Rivera until his retirement, he and whoever else had the number at time, which was only about a dozen players was grandfathered in, so they were allowed to wear it until retirement or when they switched teams. Mariano was handed the number two year prior as a rookie having no idea the importance behind #42. He then carried the number with dignity and pride for the next 15 years, and I'm sure Jackie would've been proud that Rivera was the last one to wear #42.
No one will argue how important Jackie Robinson is to the game of baseball, every player that is Black, Hispanic, Asian, has Jackie Robinson to thank for breaking down the color barrier. Yeah, eventually someone else would've came along and done the same thing down the road at some point, but he was the first to do it, and he did it at a time where racism and hate were at it's peak in this country. Black and Whites had separate bathrooms, separate schools, and a black baseball player is going to get to play in the MLB, when there's already a negro league, you would've been out of your mind to believe that 70 years ago, just ask your grandparents. Robinson displayed unmatched courage and the fact he was also a helluva a baseball player just cemented his legacy that much more. I can't even imagine the struggles Robinson went through on a daily basis, he did it for the greater good, he was an outstanding man with vision, and if he saw the game today he'd be so proud of what he was able to create.
70 years ago today Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, the greatest achievement in the history of the sport and 50 years later his number was retired in every baseball stadium across America. It was an iconic moment for an iconic figure, so as you watch baseball games today remember Jackie Robinson and all he did for the greatest game on the planet. Thank you Mr.Robinson, you've inspired so many regardless of race to be leaders, to chase dreams that seem unobtainable, and to break down whatever barriers may be in our way. A true role model and a true legend, Jackie Robinson #42.