Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Jackie Robinson Day special for reliever Oliver

TORONTO -- For Blue Jays reliever Darren Oliver, Jackie Robinson Day isn't just another day at the ballpark.

In 1997, Commissioner Bud Selig retired Robinson's famous 42 across all of baseball, making him the first athlete to have been bestowed such an honour in any sport.

A few years later, Major League Baseball began celebrating Jackie Robinson Day every April 15, and the celebration of this day, and the man, has become synonymous with baseball in April.

"It's one of those special days that you can remember what he did in baseball, and really what he did outside of the game of baseball," Oliver said.

For the 42-year-old left-hander, this day is a perfect way to help remind people of everything that the man accomplished.

Robinson helped tear down the barrier that existed in a world that had come to accept racism as commonplace. Not only did Robinson break baseball's colour line by becoming the first black athlete to play in the big leagues, but he also was known for his cultural and humanitarian impact off of the field.

Monday, every Blue Jays player wore Robinson's No. 42 on their back in honour of an exceptional man, and an exceptional athlete.

"We're wearing the number 42 on the back tonight, a lot of people might not know what it really means," Oliver said.

"But I think a lot of people should … for what he did. How hard it would be to actually be first black person to play baseball, and go through all the stuff that he went through off the field, and on the field."

"I couldn't imagine what he went through.

Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for
Read More: Toronto Blue Jays, Darren Oliver, Ramon Ortiz, Sergio Santos, Brett Lawrie, Jose Reyes