Padres honored for chance to wear No. 42
Club recognizes children from Jackie Robinson YMCA in pregame ceremony
SAN DIEGO -- A wide grin washed across Huston Street's face Tuesday when he pushed his way through the home clubhouse doors at Petco Park and saw his jersey hanging in his locker.
What's so unusual about that? It wasn't just his jersey, but the No. 42 that was hanging in each and every one of the Padres' clubhouse lockers.
"It's just ... cool," said Street, the Padres' closer.
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On Tuesday, Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day, and for the sixth consecutive year, all players and on-field personnel wore No. 42 in honor the legendary Hall of Famer, who 67 years ago broke baseball's color barrier.
The pregame ceremony at Petco Park featured 42 children from the Jackie Robinson YMCA in San Diego standing along the first-base line in Padres' No. 42 Jerseys. Representatives from the Padres' RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) leagues were along the third-base line.
Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler and team ownership presented checks of $2,500 to each of the five local RBI leagues.
The ceremonial first pitch before the game between the Padres and Rockies was thrown by Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar Kenneth Patterson.
Street has always looked forward to this day, and not because he has an appreciation for the history of the game. As a closer, he thought that it was only fitting that the last player to wear No. 42 was former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.
Street, who picked up his fourth save of the season Monday night, was looking forward to wearing No. 42 and watching the pregame ceremony.
"It's really special," Street said. "The barrier that he broke in baseball transcends the world, really. What he stood for, the example he set, what he stood for as a human being. He made it better for everybody and taught us. He deserves recognition."
The pregame ceremony Tuesday also included a pregame performance at the Park in the Park by the Jackie Robinson YMCA drum line, the Thunder Squad.
"I think it's great," Padres outfielder Will Venable said. "As a whole, I think baseball does a great job of paying tribute to the important people in the game, and in the world."