The Oakland A's will square-off against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim on Tuesday, but the game will have more meaning than a normal early April match-up between two AL West rivals. April 15th is Jackie Robinson Day around baseball. It is a day to honor the man who broke the color barrier in baseball and was one of the game's greatest players.
As part of Major League Baseball's celebration of the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson, all of the A's and the Sacramento River Cats players and coaches will wear Robinson's number 42 during their games on Tuesday. The Stockton Ports honored Robinson on Saturday and all of the Ports' players and coaches wore the number 42 in that game.
Now that Mariano Rivera has retired, the only time a player in MLB can wear 42 is on Jackie Robinson Day, as his number is retired throughout baseball. (Rivera was wearing 42 at the time baseball retired Robinson's number and was allowed to continue to wear it.)
Jackie Robinson made his Major League debut on April 15, 1947. Despite facing many challenges, Robinson starred for the Dodgers, putting together a Hall of Fame career. He hit .311 with 1,518 hits in 10 seasons in MLB and paved a path for many of the greatest players in baseball history.
Off the field, Robinson broke many more barriers. He was the first African-American television analyst for MLB and he was the first African-American Vice President of a major American bank. Robinson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. In 2013, the movie '42' was released about Robinson's life.
Robinson's impact was felt throughout American society.
"Jack Roosevelt Robinson is humbly one of the most influential figures in the history of our country," A's Director of Player Personnel Billy Owens said. "Robinson breaking the color barrier in MLB jump started the massive contributions of Martin Luther King and the brave Rosa Parks. Not only did Robinson break the color barrier of our National Pastime, he paved the way for Brown v. the Board of Education and the rest of our society to embrace every walk of life regardless of the pigmentation of their skin, race, creed or color.
"His contributions transcended every sport and our society. Congratulations to Major League Baseball to honor him on April 15 by unilaterally wearing his number 42."
The first player to break the color barrier for the Athletics franchise was pitcher Bob Trice, who made his debut on September 15, 1953. For more on Trice and the first star player of color for the Athletics -- Vic Power -- please click here.
- With Joe Blanton announcing his retirement over the weekend, the Oakland A's promoted right-hander Zach Neal to Triple-A Sacramento. Neal will slot into the River Cats' rotation on Wednesday. He didn't allow an earned run in his first two starts with Midland this season (10 IP). He struck-out 11 and walked three. Neal spent all of last season with Midland, posting a 4.35 ERA with a 96:36 K:BB in 165.2 innings.
- The Midland Rockhounds and the Beloit Snappers both had their games postponed on Monday due to inclement weather. Both will play doubleheaders on Tuesday. With Sacramento having a scheduled off-day, the only game in the A's minor league system on Monday was in Stockton. The Ports won the game, 7-5, to snap a two-game losing streak. Tim Atherton got the win, allowing two runs in six innings. He struck-out five. Bobby Crocker had three hits and Ryon Healy had two to lead the Ports' offense. Chad Pinder went 1-for-3 with three RBI. He has 13 RBI in 11 games this season.