42 Ways To Honor Jackie Robinson

Today, every baseball player is going to wear the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. It’s a noble concept which has grown somewhat stale and has not entirely hit the mark Major League Baseball has intended. In honor of Jackie’s number, here are 42 different things baseball can do to honor Jackie a better way:

  1. As written previously, let players choose whatever numbers they like. For example, allow Puerto Rican players wear 21 in honor of Roberto Clemente. After all, Jackie’s legacy is much more than himself. It’s his opening the game for everyone.
  2. Perhaps it would be more effective to have just one player wear the number 42 or have just a few. This way when you see it, it’s more eye catching.
  3. The players who stand out as options to wear 42 are former Rookies of the Year, MVPs, batting and stolen base champions. Put another way, choose the players who have accomplished something Jackie accomplished wear the number.
  4. Overall, make this akin to player’s weekend with teams having special jerseys with special numbers. Also, instead of their name, have the name of a special player, or let their jersey have a special message.
  5. The Dodgers should wear their Brooklyn uniforms and their position players should wear the uniforms their counterparts wore in 1947.
  6. The match-ups should be specialized where possible. For example, it would also be a nice touch to have the Dodgers and Braves face-off.
  7. Considering Robinson first played in the minor leagues in Montreal, the Blue Jays should always be home to permit them to have a special ceremony. That is, unless, they put a team in Montreal again.
  8. Ideally, the Mets should have a home game on April 15th not only because Jackie Robinson was a New York National League player, but also because they have the rotunda they can showcase.
  9. Similar to the 42 in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, each home team should have their own makeshift 42 or other designation where fans can take pictures and promote Jackie Robinson on social media to further promote the day and his legacy.
  10. Player segments during the game with them speaking on what Jackie Robinson means to them.
  11. There should be an MLB produced video which airs before the game. It can be telecast inside the ballpark, and it should be shown on each regional network airing a game.
  12. There should be a separate event on July 5th to honor Larry Doby, who broke the color barrier the same year in the American League. At the very least, the Indians players should wear his 14 or 37. Perhaps, all of the American League can do the same on that date.
  13. With Frank Robinson being the first African American managers, all managers and coaching staffs could wear the number 20.
  14. Invite and honor living Negro League players to the ballpark.
  15. Invite and honor players who were the first to break the color barriers for each MLB team.
  16. In addition to teams having universally retiring Robinson’s 42, teams should also retire the number of the player who broke the color barrier for their franchise, or at a minimum, a special designation inside the ballpark for that player.
  17. Teams should annually hold a day honoring the players who first broke the color barrier for their franchise on the day they broke the color barrier.
  18. Pay honor to Fleet Walker, who had played 42 games in 1884 before baseball denied black players from playing in a game necessitating Robinson to break the color barrier over 50 years later.
  19. Special events at the Negro League Museum with baseball dignitaries there. This should be aired on MLB Network and/or ESPN.
  20. Speaking of MLB Network, they should be televising Jackie Robinson’s games and specials all day.
  21. The day should be an event, and it should be treated as such. It should have the same pomp and circumstance as any big occasion.
  22. Bring Little League teams to the games as part of the honor and celebration.
  23. With his being part of the military, have tank battalions do the honor guard as part of the pre-game ceremonies.
  24. Host educational events such as e-classrooms across the country to teach about who Jackie Robinson was and what his legacy is.
  25. Instead of selling the hats online, teams should give 42 hats as a promotion at the ballpark.
  26. It would also help to give away hats and other things at local schools.
  27. While having the players wear the 42 for a game is a good idea, baseball should consider wearing the caps with a patch for a full week or even month.
  28. Have alumni of the RBI Program host baseball clinics for players before the game.
  29. Promote alumni of the RBI Program like Dominic Smith. They can speak to players and television outlets about how the program helped them.
  30. Like with the Stand Up 2 Cancer during the World Series, there should be a moment of silence during the game with players and fans holding signs with a word or phrase to describe Jackie Robinson and his legacy.
  31. Have teams put a 42 on the field somewhere. It could be first base where Jackie Robinson played his first game. There could be a 42 behind second base which was his primary position, or it could be in center or behind home plate which would be the most eye catching.
  32. Kansas City Royals should wear Monarchs uniforms as Robinson go his start playing for them, and their opponent can wear the uniforms of another Negro League team.
  33. Coordinate with UCLA (Jackie Robinson’s alma mater) to have events at the collegiate level.
  34. Look to incorporate other sports and famous athletes into the celebrations. After all, Robinson also played football, basketball, and he was an NCAA champion in the long jump.
  35. Remember, this day is more than just about baseball. It is about how Robinson changed the world, and the event should be treated as such. The more your incorporate other sports and people outside of sports the more you really push to honor all of what Robinson did.
  36. Pay special tribute to those players who were accepting of Robinson and encouraged him. Those players include, but are not limited to, Pee Wee Reese, Lee Handley, Hank Greenberg, and George Sisler.
  37. Treat 42 as sacred and be careful of how you use it. For example, don’t contract 42 minor league teams. By doing so, you are taking away opportunity, which is the opposite of what this day should stand for.
  38. Making minor league opening day April 18, the day Robinson broke the color barrier in the minor leagues.
  39. Schedule special Cooperstown events for July 23, the day in which Robinson was the first black player inducted into the Hall of Fame.
  40. Provide special funding for diabetes research and treatment as Robinson was afflicted with diabetes, and it was one of the reasons he died so young.
  41. This should be a day where baseball is reminded it needs to do more. This one day is not enough.
  42. Overall, remember Robinson was more than just a baseball player. Whatever baseball does, they should look to honor the man and not just the moment.