Cubs excited to honor Robinson at Yankee Stadium
ST. LOUIS -- The Cubs were to join Major League Baseball in celebrating Jackie Robinson Day on Tuesday, but with rain postponing the game, the festivities honoring Robinson were pushed to Wednesday, as part of a day-night doubleheader. Despite the temporary delay, it'll be a special occasion, even more so because it will be at Yankee Stadium. The last player to wear Robinson's No. 42 was Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who retired last season.
"For so long, No. 42 has basically been about Jackie Robinson, and with Mariano recently retiring and him being grandfathered in to wear No. 42, I think they share that moment," Cubs reliever Wesley Wright said. "They both stood and stand for so many great things.
"I think it's an honor to be there in that moment to wear No. 42 to honor Jackie on that day," Wright said.
Wright was in Yankee Stadium on Sept. 26 when Rivera pitched in his last game for the Yankees.
"That's a moment I'll never forget," Wright said. "To see that many people be that emotional about someone's farewell was really touching to me. Just to be standing in the bullpen and looking around and seeing everyone standing on their feet and applauding him and the emotion he showed on the field was very special."
The lefty never had a chance to talk to Rivera, but watched him closely.
"I admire his consistency and his ability to always be confident in his ability," Wright said. "As a relief pitcher, that's a key thing because you go through tough stretches. You have to remember how you got there. He was the epitome of being consistent."
On Tuesday, Wright will be thinking of Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier on April 15, 1947. But he'll also be thinking about the other No. 42 who played most recently at Yankee Stadium.
"You can't ever take anything away from Jackie," Wright said. "His contribution was so significant in so many different ways, it will have its own little section. Mariano, too, his contributions to the game and the way he did it and his class, it should have its own section as well.
"It makes the No. 42 stand for so much more than just the No. 42," Wright said. "It's kind of like a way of life. The people who wore No. 42, they took pride in it, so it's pretty special."
"It's awesome," Cubs bullpen coach Lester Strode said of the timing. "You've got the greatest reliever in baseball, along with historical Jackie Robinson Day. It's an awesome day to be at Yankee Stadium -- you've got three big occasions to celebrate in one day. It's an honor to be a part of it."