24 Stories – The Tribute

 

Ken Griffey Jr. championed the idea that every player in Major League Baseball wear Jackie Robinson’s #42 on April 15, the anniversary of Robinson’s Major League debut. Griffey first wore #42 on April 15, 1997 at Cleveland, the 50th anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. The idea was later adopted throughout MLB in 2009 by then-Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig.

Ken Griffey Jr. stands next to Jackie Robinson’s newly-retired #42 after it was retired at the Kingdome – and across baseball – in 1997.

#3 – The Tribute

“If he didn’t do what he did, I probably wouldn’t be doing what I do, or it might not ever happen. Some of the greatest players of all time may have not been able to play because he didn’t go out there and sacrifice his life for all of us. He’s the guy that we all look up to and say, ‘Could somebody do that in this day and age?’ I talked to Bud [Selig] and I asked him, ‘Could I wear 42?’ He said, ‘Do you mind if everybody wears it and I go, ‘No, the more, the better. I just want to do it because I’ve worn it before and I just want to give my respects to him.’ To have everybody in Major League Baseball wear it is unbelievable. Because every time you see it that one day  – 42 – it means a lot.” – Ken Griffey Jr.

Visit Mariners.com/24stories to check out a new story each day as we count down to Junior’s number retirement at Safeco Field on August 6.

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