SEATTLE -- The Mariners and Tigers honored the memory, life and lasting impact of Jackie Robinson on Tuesday night at Safeco Field by wearing No. 42 jerseys. The Mariners were off Monday and waited a day for the yearly festivities.
A short film about Robinson played on the monstrous new HD screen above the center-field bleachers, and the significance of wearing Robinson's number was not lost on the Mariners' players or staff.
In 1997, under the direction of Commissioner Bud Selig, Robinson's No. 42 was retired across all of Major League Baseball in an unprecedented tribute. In recent years, players have honored Robinson by wearing that number on his day.
"He's an American hero," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "When you talk about our nation's history, he's as important as anybody. And it goes a lot deeper than the game of baseball.
"And I think Major League Baseball has done a real nice job of honoring him and recognizing his achievements, and it's important."
Reliever Oliver Perez grew up in Mexico and said Robinson, who broke MLB's color barrier in 1947, undoubtedly influenced the welfare of Latin American players as well.
"You have to feel proud of what he did," Perez said. "We're here because of him, really. He did a lot of great things and everybody should be proud. It wasn't easy for him. He fought for everybody to show what they can do on a baseball field."