Mo: Honoring 42 is beautiful

April, 15, 2013
4/15/13
1:19
PM ET
Our own Johnette Howard sat down with the last man to regularly wear Jackie Robinson's No. 42, the greatest closer ever, Mariano Rivera. Rivera loves the tradition of everyone in the majors wearing No. 42 for one game during the season.

"I think it's beautiful," Rivera says, citing the once-a-year visual of all his fellow 42s-for-a-day mingling around the batting cage, running onto the diamond, standing at attention as the national anthem is played, or hustling around the field once the games begin. Rivera grew up in Panama knowing about Latin stars Juan Marichal and Roberto Clemente before he became aware of Robinson. He likes the symbolism of all these latter-day 42s -- be they African-Americans or whites or Latinos -- standing on equal footing. The tribute to Robinson is meant to ensure that no one forgets that this wasn't always so.

"Jackie Robinson was a great man," Rivera said over the weekend before a game against the Baltimore Orioles. "I have always said that wearing this number is a privilege and a great responsibility … to represent what Jackie represented for us, as a minority, and for all of baseball in general, it's tremendous. For me, it's just a privilege to wear and to try to keep that legacy. It makes me want to be at my best. And that's what I tried to do my whole career."

To read Johnette's full story click here.
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .282
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 48
RB. Gardner 64
OPSB. Gardner .789
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135