In one of the few 'new' and actually likable baseball traditions that have been created since Bud Selig's arthritic hand of power wrested the reins of control from Fay Vincent, players all across Major League Baseball will wear the number 42 on Tuesday to honor Jackie Robinson. Selig retired the number 42 eleven years ago in a ceremony at Shea Stadium and President Clinton was there to give the evening some gravitas and some extra blackness. Give credit to Ken Griffey Jr. for bringing 42 back on Jackie Robinson Day last year; it was his idea and he personally petitioned the Budster to let this happen.
Players set to wear the number this season include Mariano Rivera, partly to honor Jackie and partly because he wears it every day. Also, Jimmy Rollins, Joey Gathwright, Dusty Baker, Griffey, and....Mark Kotsay? Way to earn some street cred in Hotlanta, Mark.
Last season, some teams' entire rosters wore the number 42, including the Dodgers, Robinson's former team. Can you imagine trying to keep score at a baseball game when EVERYONE IS WEARING THE SAME NUMBER?
- Wait, who's on first?
- Number 42.
- Well, which number 42?
- No, which number 42 is on second.
- Fuck you Abbott, just tell me who's on first!