Friday, April 13, 2007

The debut of No. 42 in Dodger blue

On April 15, 1947 the first black player in baseball history started at first base for the Dodgers in a home game at Ebbets Field. That year, Jackie Robinson became the NL Rookie of the Year and a legend. Baseball later named the award for him.

Fifty years later, baseball retired his number for all teams in honor of his status as the pioneer who opened up the major leagues to men of more than one race. The only player who still wears No. 42 for his team is Mariano Rivera -- a worthy bearer of that uniform number.

Sunday marks the 60th anniversary of the day that baseball's color barrier shattered. It took longer for other teams to break their whites-only policy -- to their shame the Yanks were late in doing so; to their greater shame, the RedSux were the last team to integrate.

So on Sunday: all favor to the late Jackie Robinson, pioneer, icon, champion.

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