MIAMI -- From the time he was eight years old through his early teens, Cameron Maybin wore the No. 42 jersey for his youth baseball travel team in North Carolina. He will be proudly wearing that same number today, as will the rest of his Marlins teammates.To honor the 71st
MIAMI -- From the time he was eight years old through his early teens, Cameron Maybin wore the No. 42 jersey for his youth baseball travel team in North Carolina. He will be proudly wearing that same number today, as will the rest of his Marlins teammates.
To honor the 71st anniversary of Jackie Robinson's Major League debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Maybin and players for every MLB team will wear Robinson's No. 42. MLB will donate all proceeds from the sale of Jackie Robinson Day-related gear/merchandise to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. The Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Program provides four years of financial assistance and direct program services annually to 225 highly motivated students attending 100 colleges and universities across the country, and has developed a mentoring curriculum to reach a broad range of college students beyond its core "JRF Scholars."
"It's a true honor," Maybin said. "It's always cool to see everybody wearing one number. It says a lot. I'm just happy to be able to give back and continue to do my part to allow his legacy to live on."
On Thursday, Maybin and teammate Lewis Brinson hosted an art project at the Northwest Boys and Girls Club in Miami. Prior to Sunday's game against the Pirates at Marlins Park, 15 of the kids who participated in the art project will present the final product to Maybin and Brinson in a pregame ceremony.
"I'm glad to do anything to give back to the community," Brinson said. "It means a lot, and I'm glad Cam included me in that. Jackie is the reason I'm playing today. It means a lot to me to wear that No. 42 in the big leagues, so I'm going to be very happy to wear that. Jackie's been a big part of my career. Anybody, not just African American, but anybody he would inspire. Jackie's a very inspirational figure in all sports, I think."
Pirates first baseman Josh Bell echoed the sentiments of Maybin and Brinson, and credited his opportunity to play in the Major Leagues to the sacrifice that Robinson made to pave the way.
"I appreciate the willingness to go out of the comfort zone and put an entire race on his shoulders and not take the easy way out. Take the road that no one had traveled," Bell said. "He's a really special person. You look around the clubhouse [today] and see people from all over the world, all the skin tones, different languages. It makes it a really special day. He was the first and now the floodgates kind of opened up. You see the game today, the way it looks now. It's special, it's the best because of that."
Maybin said he's thankful that MLB honors Robinson every year on this date. He said he can't wait to again put on his uniform with the No. 42 on the back.
"He was the reason why I was able to play with white kids, Hispanic kids, we were all able to play together [growing up in Ashville, N.C.]," Maybin said. "So I've always been a huge fan and just thankful for what Jackie meant to us. Just the character that he had to display says a lot about his character. Every year it's a blessing to wear ."
Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com.