I'm not much of a history buff. That's not saying I ignore it or don't enjoy learning about it or going to museums, it's just not that high on my list of priorities. Except when it comes to baseball. I still haven't been to Cooperstown, though someday I'll make the trek. But I've been to Kansas City.
Yesterday was Jackie Robinson Day all throughout baseball. Say what you will about Bud Selig, but retiring Robinson's number league wide and creating a holiday to celebrate the man's breaking of baseball's color barrier is one of the best things he's done during his tenure as commissioner. Yesterday was the tenth Jackie Robinson Day and the fifth consecutive year of everyone on the field and in the dugouts wearing number 42.
And it's great. But here's the part where I come off as blasphemous or heretical for lack of better words: I think MLB should do something a little different next year. Everyone knows about Jackie Robinson. People that don't know what OBP is can tell you his number and who he played for. What I would love to see MLB do next April 15th is only a slight modification. The 14 expansion teams would still be wearing all 42s. But I want the original 16 franchises to wear the number of their first black player.
And not just that! I want them to wear the jerseys the team wore when that player made his major league debut. Can you imagine it? The entire White Sox roster in the old pinstripes wearing Minnie Minoso's number 9? And there would be great moments like seeing the St. Louis Browns, Boston Braves, Philadelphia A's, and Washington Senators exist again! Here are the players each team would be honoring and the numbers they would be wearing.
|White Sox||Minnie Minoso||9|
|Tigers||Ozzie Virgil Sr.||22|
|Red Sox||Pumpsie Green||12|
The Reds and Giants would have to get creative since they have two players each, but that shouldn't be too big of a problem. The 14 expansion teams should wear their first jerseys, happily allowing the Devil Rays to exist once again.
And then there's the final master stroke: all of the game worn jerseys, every last one of them is auctioned off. Two thirds of the proceeds go to the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program with the other third helping to fund the Negro Leagues museum.
It's not a perfect plan and it's not going to happen. And I really hope people don't view this as me trying to take things away from Jackie Robinson. But the idea of the other men all being honored too on his day? It would be perfect, at least to me.