April 15, 2009
A few items to peruse while remembering the most important moment in baseball history ...
• It's the 62nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson crossing MLB's color barrier and the league is taking its recent tradition one step further: Today, every player, manager, coach and even umpire in every game will be wearing No. 42 on his back. An estimated 1,000 uniforms will be bearing Robinson's number, which was retired league wide in 1997. [MLB.com]
• The tradition of breaking out the 4-2 on Jackie Robinson Day began in 2007, when MLB granted its players permission to wear the number if they so chose. The Dodgers were the first team to all wear No. 42 and more teams joined in the tribute in 2008. Now, as mandated by commissioner Bud Selig, all 30 teams will uniformly wear Jackie's number. [SF Chronicle]
• I still prefer the tribute of only one player per team wearing the number No. 42 and leaving the entire team wearing it the number to the Dodgers, because I think the solitary aspect gives it a little more meaning and power. However, it's silly to turn this into anything resembling a controversy because as long as we're continually honoring the most important man in baseball history, I think it's a good thing. No matter how we do it. [Big League Stew]
• Did you know? Yankees closer Mariano Rivera still wears No. 42 on a daily basis, having been grandfathered in after Robinson's number was retired league wide in 1997. He's the only active player still wearing the number, but do you remember that Mo Vaughn, Butch Huskey and Scott Karl also received the exemption? Uni Watch has a complete list of the players who still wore 42 after it was retired.
• Starting at 2 p.m. ET, MLB Network will feature a block of Jackie-related programming, including a look at the 1953 World Series. [TrueBlueLA]
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Other news from around the league ...
STEW NEWS: Join us at 2 p.m. ET for our first ever Big League Stew midweek chat. So long as airport wi-fi holds up, Jeff Passan will be stopping by to answer some of your questions. If you'd like a reminder, sign up for our Twitter feed @bigleaguestew
• "It's impossible to look back at Fidrych's remarkable 1976 — knowing what we know now about pitch counts and such things — and not cringe at the way manager Ralph Houk abused him. Of course, nobody was counting pitches in 1976, but even so it's hard to believe a manager would allow a rookie to throw five extra-inning games. Five!" [Joe Posnanski]
• Washington sent Lastings Milledge down to AAA on Tuesday, citing performance issues (a.k.a. his Adventures In The Outfield). In reality, he's just in need of a serious attitude adjustment. He needs to get his priorities straight. (And he better watch out for that other crowd he's been running with. Don't think Acta hasn't noticed.)[Nationals Enquirer]
Day Baseball! Rockies at Cubs, 2:20 Today's weather in Wrigleyville is a little nicer than Opening Day, but we're still a long, long ways from bikini season in the bleachers. Jason Marquis makes his not-so-triumphant return to Wrigley Field against Rich Harden in this one.
• The Orioles are off to a 6-2 start, causing some fans to crow, but it really seems to me that Baltimore is master of the 6-2 start. I asked Mr. James Mottram if my presumption was correct and he provided me with this old link to prove that it was. [Mister Irrelevant]
• Wilco leader Jeff Tweedy threw out the first pitch at Miller Park on Tuesday night. Considering he's a Cardinals fan who regularly hangs at Wrigley Field, his dalliances with NL Central teams appear to be continuing. Next stop: PNC Park. [Muzzle of Bees]