Sunday marked the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier.
Seven years after retiring Robinson’s number, baseball announced it would celebrate the day and in 2007 it began letting players wear the number April 15.
“This day is the reason why I get the chance to play this great game of baseball,” centerfielder Curtis Granderson said. “Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier 65 years ago and doing a lot of things not only for baseball but the Civil Rights movement [allowed] African-Americans like myself [and] other minorities [to play].
Not only was Granderson wearing the number, he changed jerseys in the middle of the game for an auction to generate proceeds for his foundation. Granderson did it five years ago with four different jerseys.
One of them had dirt on it and a photo was taken with Granderson in the same pose as Robinson during his sliding steal of home in the 1955 World Series.
“I don’t think Jackie’s intention was just, ‘Hey, I want to get African-Americans to play,’ because in the Negro Leagues what a lot of people don’t realize is that they had Latin-Americans playing baseball because they couldn’t get a chance to play in the major leagues. It opened up doors for everybody, and I think that’s something he would be proud of,” Granderson said.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.