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Unassisted
04-09-2008, 04:06 PM
http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/content/printer_friendly/cin/y2008/m04/d08/c2505163.jsp
Griffey, Baker to honor Robinson
04/08/2008 7:31 PM ETBy Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- When Major League Baseball pays homage to Jackie Robinson next Tuesday, Ken Griffey Jr. will again be involved. "You know what number I'll be wearing," Griffey said Tuesday.

On April 15, 2007 -- the 60th anniversary of Robinson's breaking baseball's color barrier, Griffey wore the league-wide retired No. 42 in his honor after first making the suggestion to Commissioner Bud Selig that the number be un-retired.

At least one member of every team followed Griffey's lead. Some entire rosters donned the 42. The league is encouraging another un-retirement of the number on the 61st anniversary of Robinson's historic feat.

"All players have the option. It's entirely up to them," Selig told MLB.com on Monday. "Candidly, I hope they all do it."

Like last year on April 15, the Reds will be playing the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

"I will be wearing it," Griffey said.

So will Reds manager Dusty Baker, who was informed of the Commissioner's comments.

"That'd be cool. It's appropriate and necessary," Baker said.

Griffey normally wears No. 3, while Baker has made No. 12 a fixture throughout his playing and managerial career. Baker was out of baseball last season and did not get to take part in the league-wide tribute to Robinson. Baker, a former Dodgers player, has great appreciation for Robinson's contribution to baseball.

"I have Jackie all over my house," Baker said. "I have a special Jackie Robinson wall in my memorabilia room."

Introduced in 2004, Jackie Robinson Day was created to honor the enduring impact of Jackie Robinson and his legacy as the first African-American player to break the Major League color barrier. Robinson played his first Major League game at Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947, as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In honor of the 50th anniversary of Robinson breaking the Major League color barrier in 1997, Robinson's uniform number 42 was retired throughout the Major Leagues.

Robinson's memory lives on today in initiatives such as the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which was founded by Rachel Robinson in 1973 to provide education and leadership development opportunities for minority students with strong capabilities but limited financial resources, as well as Breaking Barriers, which utilizes baseball-themed activities to reinforce literacy skills, mathematics, science and social history in addition to addressing critical issues of character development, such as conflict resolution and self-esteem.

Chip R
04-09-2008, 04:18 PM
"I have Jackie all over my house," Baker said. "I have a special Jackie Robinson wall in my memorabilia room."


I wonder if that's adjacent or opposite his Hank Aaron wall? ;)

redsrule2500
04-09-2008, 04:56 PM
I'm not into the race-based number wearing.

Is this going to be done every year now or something? It seems to be done too much across baseball lately.

RedFanAlways1966
04-09-2008, 10:04 PM
Is this going to be done every year now or something? It seems to be done too much across baseball lately.

It is okay. A MLB regular season is about 180 days. One day of that is 1/2 of 1% of the regular season. Jackie Robinson is an icon for what he did. He was also a heck of a player. Times were a lot different when Jackie joined the Dodgers and it is hard for many of us to imagine what he went through to be a MLB player. He also opened the door for many other African-Amercians and other races in MLB. Remembering him for one day every season is a good thing. People in their 70's and 80's understand it better than most of us and I don't get mad for people questioning this. But it is okay to do this every April 15.

redsrule2500
04-10-2008, 01:49 AM
It is okay. A MLB regular season is about 180 days. One day of that is 1/2 of 1% of the regular season. Jackie Robinson is an icon for what he did. He was also a heck of a player. Times were a lot different when Jackie joined the Dodgers and it is hard for many of us to imagine what he went through to be a MLB player. He also opened the door for many other African-Amercians and other races in MLB. Remembering him for one day every season is a good thing. People in their 70's and 80's understand it better than most of us and I don't get mad for people questioning this. But it is okay to do this every April 15.

He may be an icon, but every year seems like overkill.

Red in Chicago
04-10-2008, 06:32 AM
He may be an icon, but every year seems like overkill.

I'm kind of with you on this. I'm tired of having retired numbers be worn by multiple different players. Maybe a small shoulder patch with his number on it, but not the larger number on the back of the jersey.

REDREAD
04-10-2008, 08:52 AM
He may be an icon, but every year seems like overkill.

That's what Bud does best.. something has some success so he overdoes it to the point when it's run into the ground.

It was kind of cool the first time they did it, but it's not uniqure or special if they do it every year.

I think the players legitimately want to honor Robinson. Bud and his cronies though see it as a gimmic to sell a few more tickets on that day.

Unassisted
04-10-2008, 09:09 AM
He may be an icon, but every year seems like overkill.IMO, if Jackie Robinson was sufficiently important in baseball history to justify retiring his number on every team, he was important enough to remind everyone once a year of why that was done. Just because you and I know the historical significance doesn't mean there aren't young fans who don't.

Putting aside the historical aspect and the interest of young fans, the gesture of recognition works from a business aspect, for the following reasons:


Most of the sports-loving public is ignoring baseball at that time of year. The NBA and NHL playoffs are underway and every MLB team has had its home opener by April 15. The weather is still too iffy in the northern markets for the casual fan to consider a trip to the ballpark, so the sport isn't even on their radar. This gesture, unique in all of US sports, draws attention to MLB at a time when attention is hard to come by.
It's been documented by research that MLB is losing the interest of African-American sports fans to other sports more and more with each passing year. The sport can best keep the revenue flowing by appealing to every fan it can. Devoting one day out of an entire season to remind everyone that MLB values the contribution of its first African-American player can be a visible foundation of a larger effort to stem that tide of eroding interest.
Looking at the gesture objectively, I can see why Bud would like for every player to participate. I think folks on this board should be proud that a member of the Reds came up with the idea and took the initiative to get it implemented.

top6
04-10-2008, 09:23 AM
I'm not into the race-based number wearing.
Jackie Robinson wasn't into race-based baseball rosters, and I think major league players are probably pretty thankful to him for ending that.

paulrichjr
04-10-2008, 09:34 AM
I don't remember who said it last year on this site but someone suggested that one player from each team be allowed to wear the number as an honor. That seems like a real winner to me. Every player on every team wearing the number seems to take from the "special" significance of the number.


(Another option is one player from each league or even one player each year) That seems a lot better than the 500 possibly wearing it each year.

Team Clark
04-10-2008, 10:55 AM
Jackie Robinson wasn't into race-based baseball rosters, and I think major league players are probably pretty thankful to him for ending that.

I can agree with that. 1 Day out of the season isn't going to hurt anyone. As much as MLB is struggling to get minorities interested in the game this push by MLB is a good ad campaign. :thumbup:

WebScorpion
04-10-2008, 08:27 PM
They've left it up to the players. This year, most teams have gotten together and either elected a player to wear it or drawn from a lottery to decide who will wear it. They consider it an honor. There are a few teams who have elected for the whole team to honor Jackie. What really struck me was one of the African-American players said, Jackie was the first man of color he'd ever seen speak intelligently and have a worldly attitude. It opened his eyes to the fact there was a whole world outside his neighborhood (I think he was from the deep south somewhere) for him to explore. That's not a baseball thing, that's just a plain hero thing. Jackie was a shining example to all humans in any walk of life. He peacefully showed the world what was truly right. He ignored ignorance and shone a light into the darkness of racism...it may have just been a game he was playing, but it was a way of carrying oneself against impossible odds with courrage and dignity that he was showing us. I have absolutely no problem with any way the players wish to honor his memory, and I think it's one of the greatest things Ken Griffey, Junior ever did in his career. I'm sure Ken Griffey, Senior is very proud of him.
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