D-backs honored to wear No. 42
Four players, first-base coach don Jackie Robinson's number
SAN FRANCISCO -- Orlando Hudson is seldom, if ever, at a loss for words.
But Arizona's Gold Glove second baseman struggled when asked about how special it was to wear No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson Day.
"It's definitely an honor for all that my man went through for us," said Hudson. "Not just African-Americans, but for baseball. There's so much you can say about Jackie Robinson. It's eye-dripping to sit here and talk about him. There aren't words. I can't put it into words."
Hudson, Eric Byrnes, Justin Upton and Chris Young, along with first-base coach Lee Tinsley, all donned Sedona Red No. 42 jerseys. All except for Upton, who was in the Minor Leagues at the time, did the same thing last year.
"Anytime you can represent something as great as Jackie Robinson, it's an honor," Tinsley said. "I never had to go through the things that he had to go through, but just reading the stories about what he went through to open opportunities for everyone, there's not enough words to explain it."
Introduced in 2004, Jackie Robinson Day was created to honor the enduring impact of Jackie Robinson and his legacy as the first African-American player to break the Major League color barrier. Robinson played his first Major League game at Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947, as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In honor of the 50th anniversary of Robinson breaking the Major League color barrier in 1997, Robinson's uniform No. 42 was retired throughout the Major Leagues.
Robinson's memory lives on today in initiatives such as the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which was founded by Rachel Robinson, his widow, in 1973 to provide education and leadership development opportunities for minority students with strong capabilities but limited financial resources. Additionally, the Breaking Barriers program utilizes baseball-themed activities to reinforce literacy skills, mathematics, science and social history in addition to addressing critical issues of character development, such as conflict resolution and self-esteem.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.