Not everyone should wear #42 today. Here’s why.

mets 2011 jackie robinson day jersey jon niese

Not everyone should wear #42 today.

I am not here to diminish Jackie Robinson.  Quite the opposite.

What baseball has done is turn the 42 into just another stunt.   42 has been watered down into the realm of stars and stripes caps and camo jerseys and that’s terrible.

There is a really good solution which  I read it on the internet a few years back – so credit to whoever came up with this.

Pick ONE player (or in a variant idea a handful of players) and have that player be the one who has the honor of wearing Jackie’s number.

At some point today the Mets will send out the press notes and the beat reporters will read them  You will then see a barrage of tweets about how the players are going to wear 42.  Surprise.  42 is now as important as everyone tweeting the lineup.

On the broadcast 42 will get talked about.  Nice enough.

But imagine if MLB turned wearing 42 into an honor.  What if there were discussions about who should wear the number.

Play this out…

Say the Mets chose Curtis Granderson.  You get a press release about which Met (and Phille and Astro and Mariner…) will wear the number.  Curtis gets the honor but also the responsibility of wearing the number.  Curtis would be the Met chosen to spoke to the media about the importance of Jackie.   Why you Curtis? What does this mean to you?  Why is Jackie important?

In that scenario you get a focused tribute.

(Plus being cynical there’s a better chance of selling Granderson 42 jerseys than generics, but OK maybe that leads to my son asking me why someone at the Mets game has a Granderson 42 jersey.)



As time heads forward maybe a player with white skin would ask to be the one with the honor.  That would start a discussion of some kind, and maybe we could see how far we’ve come (or not).  If David Wright asked to be the one who wears 42 how would you react?  Is that good?  Does it harken back to Jackie and Pee Wee Reese?  Would it bother some that a white player not a black player wore the number?  I really could argue this one both ways – and that’s quite a discussion to be had.

Instead we’ll take what was originally a grand gesture and check he box.  It’s not bad that they do it, it just could be better.  Discuss!

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Shannon Shark @metspolice

Shannon Shark is the founder of, tweets as @metspolice, is an avid fan of Lee Mazzilli and Daniel Murphy, hates black uniforms and is the author of "Send The Beer Guy" available at #imwith28

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24 Responses

  1. PatrickCooley says:

    This is an excellent idea that has merit.  Make the Face of MLB contest a real contest, include the players and coaches along with the fans and the winner gets the honor and responsibility to wear the number with pride and dignity.

  2. PatrickCooley says:

    I agree with you, right now it’s a stunt.

  3. FormerDirtDart says:

    metspolice So, essentially you are endorsing MLB’s original #42 plan. Which the teams and players rapidly discarded

  4. MikeEsposito5 says:

    cvelardi metspolice It would make it like an honor to wear #42 for a day.

  5. Wrightoholics says:

    metspolice it would be nice… could work much like the RC award given to one player for a specific reason…

  6. Wrightoholics says:

    metspolice In terms of who wore it, I wouldnt care about color – that’s the message your are trying to convey in the end #nopeimnotwhite

  7. cvelardi says:

    MikeEsposito5 metspolice It really would — I really, really like this idea. Too often, ‘marketers’ think bigger is better..

  8. MikeEsposito5 says:

    cvelardi metspolice Yeah i kno :(.Unfortunately, it makes it a publicity stunt and merchandise oppportunity like Mothers day &Fathers day.

  9. SiddFinch021 says:

    metspolice I wear 42 on my hockey helmet and I’m white.

  10. ImNotAHRHitter says:

    AmazinAvenue metspolice As do I.

  11. metspolice says:

    .jenhasonen thats what people are telling me. even though it makes me look forgetful i think it strengthens the watered down argument

  12. jenhasonen says:

    metspolice it would be interesting to find out why this idea was abandoned in favor of the current “EVERYONE IS 42!!!!” Shenanigans

  13. jenhasonen says:

    metspolice and yes, it only reinforces your original question. As long as MLB didn’t allow fan voting, tweet voting, etc

  14. metspolice says:

    .jenhasonen oh goodness – the people picking 42 would be awful.

  15. Tommy_Karn says:

    metspolice jenhasonen i’m personally tired of players wearing this point it should be a patch or a hat with ’42’ on it..more subtle

  16. jenhasonen says:

    Tommy_Karn metspolice I just don’t think the message gets across at all. 42 is everywhere so it’s easy to ignore if that makes sense

  17. metspolice says:

    .jenhasonen Tommy_Karn That’s how I feel. The specialness has become rote.

  18. metspolice says:

    .jenhasonen Tommy_Karn That’s how I feel. The specialness has become rote.

  19. Tommy_Karn says:

    metspolice jenhasonen just over it…plus, its super confusing and hard to tell who is who.. wear a patch or cap instead

  20. Dept of Corrections says:

    Is that jersey supposed to be authentic? The number don’t look right to me.

  21. TezzaNYM says:

    @Dept of Corrections  Sure is! It’s my jersey that Shannon didn’t bother mentioning…

  22. TezzaNYM says:

    metspolice Hey, thanks for using the pic of my jersey without credit!

  23. metspolice says:

    TezzaNYM  ha sorry, i just typed 42 into my images and that came up – must be an old You Own This

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