Last player to wear No. 42 shared similar values to baseball’s trailblazing hero
NEW YORK — Major League Baseball retired No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson on April 15, 1997 — 50 years after Robinson debuted and broke the color barrier. Now, the last player to wear the number will enter the Hall of Fame.
Mariano Rivera, who earned the first unanimous vote into the Hall of Fame on Tuesday by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, was one of several active players who wore No. 42 when he began his career. Those active players already wearing the number were permitted to wear it until they retired.
Rivera retired in 2013, becoming the last player to wear the distinguished number.
On Wednesday, Robinson’s widow, Rachel, and daughter, Sharon, shared their happiness that Rivera was elected to the Hall on his first ballot.
“We’re thrilled by the news that Mariano Rivera has been voted into the Hall of Fame,” the Robinsons said in a statement to MLB.com. “He not only proudly wore No. 42, but also embodies many of [Jackie’s] values. His love for family, country and community will sustain Mariano and enhance all our lives.”
Robinson, Rivera and Bruce Sutter are the only players to have worn No. 42 and to be voted into the Hall of Fame.
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