(NEXSTAR) – If you watch MLB games closely, you might notice that no players are wearing #42. There is one exception to this: when all MLB players are wearing #42 the same day – Jackie Robinson Day.
Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947 when he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers. While those playing in MLB weren’t even alive when Robinson made his debut, the league honors his legacy every April 15.
On Jackie Robinson Day, every player and field staff wear the number that Robinson wore, 42, which was retired by the league in 1997. This year, to mark the 75th anniversary of Robinson’s debut, the No. 42 on each team’s jersey will be Dodger blue, regardless of team primary colors.
MLB has honored Jackie Robinson Day every year since 2004, with all players and field staff wearing No. 42 on April 15 every year since 2009.
There will also be additional tributes throughout the day on Friday. In New York, 42nd Street will temporarily be called Jackie Robinson Way. A sign will be placed at 42nd and Broadway in the afternoon and then taken to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY
In Los Angeles, Jackie’s widow Rachel (who turns 100 this year) will be in attendance at Dodgers Stadium as the Dodgers take on the Cincinnati Reds. Prior to the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will bring his team to the Robinson statue outside the main entrance to center field to pay their respects to Robinson, Nexstar’s KTLA reports.
Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia in 1919. He attended college at UCLA, where he was named to the All-American football team, but was forced to leave due to financial difficulties, states the biography on his website. Robinson later enlisted in the army, but his career was cut short after he was court-martialed for objecting to “incidents of racial discrimination”. He finally left with an honorable discharge.
Slideshow: Jackie Robinson
In 1945 Robinson played in the Negro Baseball League for the Kansas City Monarchs. Two years later, Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers.
After nine seasons with the Dodgers, Robinson retired after the 1956 season. He then worked as vice president of personnel at Chock Full O’ Nuts, a restaurant chain in New York, and became a civil rights icon. , according to Library of Congress.
Robinson died on October 24, 1972.
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