New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera recently announced that he will be retiring after this season, which means the No. 42 will be officially retired from Major League Baseball after the season. The No. 42 was retired across baseball in 1997 in honor of Jackie Robinson, and Rivera is the only player remaining who still wears that number.
On Sunday, Robinson’s wife Rachel told the NY Daily News that she was “a little sad” to hear that Rivera will not be pitching beyond the 2012 season.
“You start to think over the life of his career, all that he has accomplished,” Rachel Robinson said. “All players have to face it, but it’s still hard to think about Mariano not pitching anymore. He has had a wonderful career.”
Robinson, who is now 90 years old, said she does not know Rivera all that well but can see similarities between the Yankee legend and her late husband.
“They were both very determined,” she explained. “They are two men with great dignity and pride, and carried that with what they did on the field. Some of the characteristics of Jack, I see in Mariano.
“Mariano has brought attention to (the number), and to Jackie’s career as well. It’s enhanced the interest in No. 42, and that is important for our youth. It’s been such a thrill for me to see the stadiums full of players wearing Jack’s number on April 15 (Jackie Robinson Day). The number has gained a lot in an emotional sense, and certainly Mariano has been a part of that.”
Rivera is one of the most well-respected pitchers to ever play the game, so you can understand why Rachel has been proud to see him keep the legacy alive. But as Google reminded us last month, there will still be plenty of Jackie Robinson tributes to go around long after the No. 42 has officially made its exit from the MLB.
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