Now Commenting On:

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Granderson appreciates Robinson's legacy

Justice: Granderson appreciates Robinson

Granderson appreciates Robinson's legacy

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

NEW YORK -- Jackie Robinson's legacy is sacred for everyone in Major League Baseball. As Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, "He's an example for all of us. At times, we're all going to be tested in life. It's just a great day, and I think players look forward to it. It's an honor to put on No. 42."

Still, it's different for minorities because they walked through doors that Robinson opened. On Opening Day, 203 Major League players were from Latin America.

"You look at our coaching staff," Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson said. "We have a Latin American bench coach [Tony Pena]. We have an African-American bullpen coach [Mike Harkey]. You just look at the diversity. It all started with Jackie Robinson 65 years ago. Helping the Civil Rights movement. Helping open up many doors, for any and everybody."

2012 Jackie Robinson Day coverage
Baseball pays tribute to pioneer
Robinsons are great ambassadors
Justice: Jackie's courage immeasurable
Rickey's foresight shaped game
RBI, UYA, CRG embody Jackie's spirit
Breaking barriers
More on Jackie Robinson Day
Jackie Robinson Foundation
A look back at barrier breakers
Jackie Robinson Day
Jackie Robinson's debut in 1947
MLB Network examines Jackie's life
MLB.com's looks at No. 42
Shop the Jackie Robinson collection

Granderson wore shoes inscribed with No. 42 in Sunday night's game against the Angels and was planning to wear two jerseys during the contest. The Yankees will auction the shoes and one of the jerseys to benefit the Jackie Robinson foundation.

In his locker at Yankee Stadium, he has a small statue commemorating Robinson's steal of home against the Yankees. He was safe at home on a similar play on Jackie Robinson Day several years ago, and had the jersey and a photo of the play framed along with one of Robinson's steal.

He also intended to wear his socks high, imitating the style of players in the Negro Leagues. All in all, he appreciates the day because he sees many reasons to spotlight one of the pivotal people in American history.

"For me, [this day] means a bunch of different things," he said. "It's a chance to play this great game I love. The number of minorities in the clubhouse and in clubhouses throughout the game. It's a great thing for baseball to continue to promote his legacy.

"I have kids come up and tell me their first book report was on Jackie Robinson. These are 6, 7, 8, 9 year olds. That generation is aware. My generation hasn't forgotten. My parents and grandparents haven't forgotten. To look around the field, and seeing everyone wearing No. 42, it gives people a chance to talk about Jackie Robinson."

Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español