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Softball Player Will Be Final Bruins to Wear #42


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#1
SpartanIlliniCub

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I just picked up a news item from the UCLA Bruins Twitter feed that the school is retiring #42 and current senior outfielder Jelly Felix (great name I know!) will be the last player at UCLA to wear the number.  After she graduates, the number will not be available for any UCLA player across all sports at the school.

 

The reason for the retiring of #42 is to honor legendary baseball star and former UCLA Bruin Jackie Robinson.  Jackie Robinson was an elite Hall of Fame baseball player (career .311 hitter, played in 6 World Series and 6 straight All Star games in the MLB), but he is most famous for the courage he displayed in breaking Major League Baseball's "color barrier" in 1947.  Jackie Robinson was the first African American player to play in Major League Baseball—before him only white players played in the major leagues.  Major League Baseball retired Jackie Robinson's number league-wide in 1997 and celebrates "Jackie Robinson Day" every April 15th, where all players wear number 42.

 

In 2014, UCLA decided to honor Jackie's memory and his accomplishments by forever retiring his number #42 at the school.  In announcing the retirement, UCLA chancellor Gene Block stated that "Jackie detested injustice, fought for civil rights and his spirit of breaking barriers has been and always will be a guiding force of UCLA past, present and future.”  At the same time, UCLA announced it would rename its 22-building athletic complex as "Jackie Robinson Athletics and Recreation Complex."

 

For his abilities on the field and what he meant to pro sports and the nation in integrating major league baseball, Jackie Robinson may be the most important athlete in American history.  There are so few worthy of the honor of having their number retired at their alma mater.  And it's a softball player that will be the last to wear his number for the Bruins!

 

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#2
CatOsterFan

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What a cool story!  What an honor to have the Major League Baseball and an entire university retire your number.  Mr. Robinson must have been pretty special.  It's hard to think of anyone else who would be worth of such an honor.  Has anyone else even come close to transforming the game the way Jackie Robinson did?

 

Perhaps when a women finally breaks through and plays in the MLB, it will come close to being similar.  And don't call me crazy!  Several female pitchers have played at very high levels in baseball.

 

So it is a matter of "when" and not "if."  When it happens, that will be, in my opinion, the closest a player can come to Mr. Robinson's achievement.



#3
jlurban

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220px-42_film_poster.jpg

 

For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, I highly recommend the movie 42: The True Story of an American Legend about the life and times of Jackie Robinson.  The film premiered in April 2013 to generally favorable reviews, earning $27.3 million its first weekend—the best opening for a baseball-related movie in Hollywood history.  The film was deemed a commercial success,  grossing $95 million on a production budget of $40 million.



#4
MammaZord

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This is a cool story. I had no idea Jackie Robinson went to UCLA. They should play that up more! Maybe they do and I'm just not paying attention. 

 

I agree that Jackie Robinson is one of the most important athletes in US history. I would also add Muhammad Ali to that list. Ali continued Robinson's civil rights legacy and was very courageous in his protest against the Vietnam War.  






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