It was reported yesterday that Ken Griffey Jr. had sought and received permission from MLB to wear the uniform number 42, retired throughout the game in honor of Jackie Robinson, on April 15 — the 60th Anniversary of Robinson’s big league debut.
At the time, I wondered what might happen if another player — say, one that wasn’t quite as universally beloved and respected as Junior — made a similar request. Thanks to the Sultan Of Surly’s personal publicist, MLB.com’s Barry Bloom, we now have our answer.
Giants slugger Barry Bonds has agreed to shed his famous No. 25 for Jackie Robinson’s even more famous No. 42 when Major League Baseball celebrates the 60th anniversary of Robinson shattering the color barrier on April 15.
Bonds follows Cincinnati’s Ken Griffey Jr., who spearheaded the effort and petitioned Commissioner Bud Selig to wear Robinson’s number, which was retired throughout baseball in 1997 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary.
“I’m proud to do this,” Bonds told MLB.com prior to Wednesday night’s Giants game against the Padres at AT&T Park. “It’s Jackie, man. There’s no person who was more important to the African-American cause in baseball history than Jackie Robinson. He paved the way for Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, everybody. You just can’t underestimate the impact Jackie had on this game.”
We can only presume the Rangers’ C.J. Wilson will also be granted permission to wear #42 the week after next.
Bonds hit career HR no. 735 last night off San Diego’s Chris Young, a solo shot in the first inning of the Giants’ 5-3 loss to the Padres.