More than 330 team members expected to wear Robinson's No. 42
NEW YORK -- The 30 major league teams and the sport's league office will combine to sponsor a Jackie Robinson Foundation scholar for each club from 2009-11.
The pledge of $1.2 million announced Monday raises the foundation's support from MLB and its teams to more than $10 million since 1996, the commissioner's office said.
Players again have been invited to wear Robinson's No. 42 on Tuesday, the 61st anniversary of when Robinson played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers and broke the major league color barrier. More than 330 players, managers and coaches are expected to wear No. 42, up from more than 240 last year.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced 11 years ago that Robinson's number was being retired by all major league teams. The only player wearing No. 42 then who remains active is New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera.
"Major League Baseball has not forgotten and will never forget the great contribution and sacrifice that Jackie made to baseball and to all of society," Selig said.
Everyone in uniform will wear No. 42 for the Washington Nationals' game at the New York Mets, Pittsburgh's game at the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels' game at the Texas Rangers. Oakland, St. Louis and Tampa Bay also planned to have everyone wear No. 42, bringing the total to nine teams -- up from six last year.
In New York, the Mets planned to unveil the designs for the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at Citi Field, their new ballpark that will open in 2009.
More than 200 players, managers and coaches wore No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day last year.
Also, ESPN Films has agreed to co-produce a film about Jackie Robinson and Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey and their struggle to break baseball's color barrier in the late 1940s.
Robert Redford will be one of the producers and will portray Rickey. The film is being produced with the approval of Rachel Robinson and Branch Rickey Jr.
"Having lived it, I fervently hope that the passionate team we have assembled thus far will protect our story and bring it to fruition," Robinson said.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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