No. 42 Touches All Of Us
I know a lot of Mets fans will see that No. 42 standing proudly at Cit Field and still question whether or not it belongs there. I know Jackie Robinson never played a game for the Mets, but when I see that No. 42, I see a lot more than Jackie Robinson.
- I see Tommy Agee diving head first toward the wall in center field to rob Paul Blair of a bases loaded triple in the 1969 World Series.
- I see Steve Henderson hitting a grand slam and giving all of us something to believe in, if only for just one day.
- I see Dwight Gooden making his electrifying debut on his way to 17 wins and 276 strikeouts in his rookie season.
- I see Mookie Wilson chugging his way to first base as Ray Knight races home with the winning run in game six of the 1986 World Series.
- I see so many amazing Met memories that may have never been if not for the courage, ability and determination of the man who gave new meaning to the No. 42.
I couldn’t let the day pass without acknowledging the greatness of Jackie Robinson and the tremendous, lasting effect he has had on our National Pastime. I can’t even pretend to understand what it must have been like for him to break through that color barrier against such overwhelming odds, but I can say how grateful I am to him for persevering and having the courage to pull it off with such overwhelming class and a profound respect for the game. I count Ken Griffey Jr., Dwight Gooden, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes among my favorite all time players in baseball. Thank you Jackie, for making it all possible.
They say that the true measure of a man is not what he says about himself, but what others say about him.
“Upon his death in 1972, he left a legacy that every player aspires to leave: one that both creates memories of your playing time and has a sustainable impact from your contributions off the field. Robinson was ahead of his time in his ability to master both stages, and he did it with nobility and a dedicated belief in America’s potential.” – Doug Glanville
“The moment he stepped onto the field it reached out to everyone. As a child growing up in Oklahoma I knew then that I could realize my dream if I worked hard and had the skills.” - Frank Robinson
“I don’t care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a *ucking zebra. I’m the manager of this team and I say he plays.” – Leo Durocher
“Thinking about the things that happened, I don’t know any other ball player that could have done what Jackie Robinson did. To be able to hit with everybody yelling at him. He had to block all that out, block out everything but this ball that is coming in at a hundred miles an hour and he’s got a split second to make up his mind if it’s in or out or down or coming at his head, a split second to swing. To do what he did has got to be the most tremendous thing I’ve ever seen in sports.” – Pee Wee Reese
“There is no person more central or more important to the history of baseball for his pioneering ways. His impact on our game is not fully defined without the mention of his extreme courage.” – Hall of Fame President, Jeff Idelson
“He led America by example. He reminded our people of what was right and he reminded them of what was wrong. I think it can be safely said today that Jackie Robinson made the United States a better nation.” – Former American League President Gene Budig
“He knew he had to do well. He knew that the future of blacks in baseball depended on it. The pressure was enormous, overwhelming, and unbearable at times. I don’t know how he held up. I know I never could have.” – Duke Snider
“He struck a mighty blow for equality, freedom and the American way of life. Jackie Robinson was a good citizen, a great man, and a true American champion.” – President Ronald Reagan
About the Author: Joe DeCaro
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.
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