69 years ago today, Jackie Robinson put on a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform and in front of more than 25,000 spectators, played first base, and broke baseball’s color barrier.
69 years later, every player in the major leagues can be seen wearing the No. 42 to represent the respect Robinson gets from the game. His No. 42 is retired by every club in MLB, and first-ballot hall of fame closer, Mariano Rivera, was the last to wear the prestigious number.
Players have reached out through social media, paying tribute to the man that changed the game as we know it forever. Robinson Cano — who is named after the the legend, David Price, C.C. Sabathia and many more have tweeted their respects.
His legacy lives on, but unfortunately the number of African Americans in the game is dwindling. In 2013, it was recorded that only 8.5% of MLB players were African American. That is a decline in the game that had somewhere between 18%-19% black a couple of decades ago.
Despite, the lower rates of African American players, baseball wins by never forgetting where it started, and how today’s game is shaped by one man willing to make a difference.
The following video captures just what he means to the game nearly 70 years later.