New York Yankees reflect on Jackie Robinson Day
All 30 teams celebrate Jackie Robinson Day today by having all players wear No. 42, which is of course retired throughout MLB. Both the Yankees and their opponents today, the Cardinals, have also retired the number for one of their own, with Mariano Rivera occupying that spot in Monument Park and Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter the owner of the No. 42 hanging inside Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
YESNetwork.com spoke to six Yankees, including one former Cardinal, as well as manager Joe Girardi, to get their thoughts on Robinson's legacy and this special day in baseball, and we present those thoughts to you now in quotebook form.
CHRIS CARTER: "Simply put: it's an honor to wear No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day."
DIDI GREGORIUS: "Jackie Robinson Day means a lot for I think every player coming out of a different country. Everything he has done to open the barrier for all of us…just to see how far baseball has come, it's awesome. It's amazing, everything he's done for us and the next generation that comes after us, and (today) is a really great day that means a lot."
AARON HICKS: "Jackie Robinson, man, he changed the game, even beyond breaking the color barrier. He brought speed to the game, and he was a guy that never gave up. His dream was to play in the Major Leagues, and he accomplished that dream, no matter what it took to get there. That's someone anyone can look up to, and he's a symbol that you can do anything you want to in life."
MATT HOLLIDAY: "I don't know if there's a word strong enough to describe his impact, breaking the color barrier and allowing the game of baseball to include all the greatest athletes. We're playing the greatest competition in the world now, and his impact on the history of our game, as well as where we're at right now, is huge."
TOMMY LAYNE: "It's special to wear No. 42 and play today. You look at America and how diverse it is, and Jackie being the one that broke through and integrated this game, it's truly remarkable. It's definitely a privilege to play on Jackie Robinson Day, celebrating everything he's done for baseball and just the richness of this game."
CC SABATHIA: "Jackie Robinson meant everything to me. What he meant to the game, breaking the segregation line and crossing over from the Negro Leagues, that's what gives me the opportunity to sit here today and play for the Yankees, so I would just like to say thank you to him."
JOE GIRARDI: "Jackie, thank you for being a pioneer, for all the sacrifices and all the hard times that you went through to make our world better and to make this game better. I look at him and think about all the difficulties that he went through, and how he was a classy gentleman the whole way throughout. Jackie Robinson is a great example for everyone in the world."