Dating back to their days in Brooklyn, the Dodgers’ have had a plethora of historic players suit up for the franchise. Among them is Jackie Robison, who now gets celebrated annually when players throughout the Majors wear No. 42 every April 15.
For Dodgers first base coach Davey Lopes, this day holds a special place as he grew up watching Robinson and fellow Dodgers during the 1955 World Series, according to Lyle Spencer of MLB.com:
I remember watching those ‘Boys of Summer’ guys on TV,’ staying home from school to watch them in the World Series.”
After being drafted in the second round of the 1968 by the Dodgers and playing 16 seasons, Lopes met many great players, but unfortunately said he never had the pleasure of meeting his hero:
I met all the great players, but I never had the opportunity to meet Jackie,” Lopes said. “I didn’t get to tell him what he meant to me personally — and to so many other people.”
Although Lopes is greatly appreciative of what Robinson accomplished, he doesn’t believe in jersey numbers being retired, even Robinson’s:
I understand why they did it, and I know it’s a great honor — so no one else will ever wear it. Rivera was the last. But I also know how good it feels to wear the number of someone who meant so much to you. It gives you a connection to that person every day you pull the uniform on.”
Robinson broke the baseball color barrier in 1947, paving the way for others to follow suit. Lopes wore No. 15 in his time with the Dodgers, but wore No. 42 in 1997 while coaching the San Diego Padres, the year the number was retired.
Jimmy Rollins Discusses Dodgers Tradition