by Rob Joyce
Saturday marked the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s MLB debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. A pioneer whose lasting effect stretches far beyond the baseball diamond, the league continues its tradition of having every player wear No. 42 instead of their usual uniform. However, many players took their tributes a step further, honoring the Hall of Famer in their own, unique ways.
Here are some of the notables:
The Nationals’ slugger wore custom cleats that featured, among other details, some of Robinson’s stats, his famous steal of home plate in the 1955 World Series and a portrait.
The fireballer for the Yankees had the cleats to honor Robinson, but it came in a special box as well. Nike as a whole used Saturday to promote a message of equality, as exhibited by Betances’ cleats and their packaging.
The Mets’ outfielder went with a camo-patterned front, with a simple “42” on one side of the cleat toward the heel, and “Jackie Robinson Day” inscribed on the other. With a donation to the Jackie Robinson Foundation between now and April 27th fans will have a chance to win the cleats as part of a larger prize package.
The Mariners’ second baseman went with a gradient background on the cleats, with Robinson’s “42” and the Brooklyn Dodgers’ “B” scattered throughout. Along the bottom, a replica of Robinson’s autograph can be seen as well.
Los Angeles Dodgers:
We saved the best for last. Now the third-oldest stadium in the majors (behind only Fenway Park and Wrigley Field), Dodger Stadium has never had a statue outside of it, until now. A sculpture of Robinson stealing home now graces the busiest entry at the ballpark. The statue itself weighs 700 pounds, sitting on a 17-ton base that features three of Robinson’s quotes.