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MLB players to sport Robinson's number

April 13, 2007 at 9:18 AM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, April 13 (UPI) -- Dozens of baseball players, including the Cincinnati Reds' Ken Griffey Jr., plan to honor Jackie Robinson by wearing his uniform No. 42 in games Sunday.

The movement to honor Major League Baseball's first black player on the 60th anniversary of his first appearance with the Brooklyn Dodgers stemmed from a request by Griffey to Commissioner Bud Selig that led to similar requests from players around the country, The New York Times reported Friday.

On April 15, 1947, Robinson broke baseball's color barrier by appearing in the game for the Dodgers. Despite racial slurs and physical threats, he had a Hall of Fame career that included a Rookie of the Year award and two Most Valuable Player honors. He died in 1972 at the age of 53.

On Sunday at least one player on every team, including Barry Bonds, Dontrelle Willis, Gary Sheffield and the entire rosters of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Houston Astros, will sport the number 42 in honor of Robinson, the Times said.

"Maybe the best thing about this year's tribute is that it came from the players," New York Mets Manager Willie Randolph, who plans to wear the number Sunday, told the newspaper. "You hear these jokes that the modern player doesn't know anything about baseball history. But it's pretty clear that most of them do appreciate what Jackie Robinson did for them -- for all of them."

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