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Wright honored to participate in Jackie's Day

Cubs reliever feels special admiration for No. 42, former Yanks closer Rivera

NEW YORK -- Wesley Wright remembers hearing the story of Jackie Robinson's life as a very young boy, especially as one who took to baseball at a young age.

Now, Wright, the left-handed reliever who signed with the Cubs this offseason as a free agent, takes great pride in wearing No. 42 and playing on Jackie Robinson Day.

"I take a lot of inspiration, just in day-to-day life," Wright said. "I think Jackie teaches all of us to be courageous and sometimes take a leap of faith. You're going to be faced with tough situations, and it's all about how you handle them. His sacrifice is the reason why I'm here and the reason why a lot of other people are where they are.

"I think the fact that we take time out and honor him and his legacy is only right, for what he's done for America."

This year's celebration is the first time there is no active player wearing No. 42, after Yankees great Mariano Rivera retired following last season. That may help Wright's Cubs in a doubleheader in the Bronx on Wednesday, even if the game has lost a great ambassador.

"That number is so special now," Wright said. "Seeing [Rivera] grandfathered in and continuing to wear it so long after it was retired is kind of like he has his own section as the history of the No. 42. It's really cool. I've watched his career from afar and really respect what he did here in New York, and his level of consistency and how he carried himself with class. He's definitely a fitting guy to have worn No. 42 for so long."

Cubs to honor Jackie on Monday
Tuesday marked Major League Baseball's official celebration of Jackie Robinson Day, but the Cubs will honor him as well at Wrigley Field on Monday. Robinson broke baseball's color barrier on April 15, 1947, and in honor of his achievement, the Cubs are partnering with Ebony Magazine to make available rarely seen photographs of Robinson and other African-American baseball legends from the Johnson Publishing archives. The images will be on display at Wrigley during Monday's game.

Joe Lemire is a contributor to
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