SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants closely followed the Brooklyn Dodgers in helping integrate baseball. So it follows that they'll be avid participants next Tuesday when Jackie Robinson Day is observed throughout the Major Leagues. At least two Giants, outfielders Rajai Davis and Randy Winn, said Wednesday that they'd be proud to wear Robinson's jersey No. 42 in his honor. And it's likely that more Giants will follow suit as Tuesday approaches. A sizable Giants contingent would only be fitting. Two years after Robinson broke baseball's color line, the Giants added their first African-American players in Hank Thompson and Monte Irvin.
As a black athlete, Winn said he thinks deeply about, "All the things that [Robinson] endured so that I can be where I am today. That's what I think about when I think about Jackie Robinson. "The wonderful thing about it is the class and dignity with which he did it." Davis, who's also black, called Robinson a "pivotal" force and echoed Winn by saying, "He paved the way for guys like me." Davis added, "He's the one who had to go through the most change, and with change comes a lot of conflict. I can't even fathom what he had to go through. Yet he was strong enough to endure all that and compete and play well. So he's definitely an icon and should be honored for what he's done." Introduced in 2004, Jackie Robinson Day was created to honor the enduring impact of Jackie Robinson and his legacy as the first African-American player to break the Major League color barrier. Robinson played his first Major League game at Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947, as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Robinson breaking the Major League color barrier in 1997, Robinson's uniform number 42 was retired throughout the Major Leagues. Robinson's memory lives on today in initiatives such as the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which was founded by Rachel Robinson in 1973 to provide education and leadership development opportunities for minority students with strong capabilities but limited financial resources, as well as Breaking Barriers, which utilizes baseball-themed activities to reinforce literacy skills, mathematics, science and social history in addition to addressing critical issues of character development, such as conflict resolution and self-esteem.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.