O's Cedric Mullins and Dillon Tate talk about Jackie Robinson Day in MLB

It’s Jackie Robinson Day around Major League Baseball. Today, every player on every team is wearing No. 42.

Today MLB celebrates the 77th anniversary of the day that Robison broke baseball’s color barrier. On this date in 1947 he became the first black man to play in the majors when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, wearing No. 42.

O’s center fielder Cedric Mullins said he has been trying to find a way to hang onto his No. 42 jersey each year but the jerseys usually are auctioned off.

What does today mean to him?

“I think it’s about opportunity. That is what it boils down to” said Mullins. “At the end of the day, it’s about guys and players like myself to have the opportunity to play this game on the highest level.

"I think it’s an important story for everyone to know how he persevered and created opportunity for players across the world.”

Mullins was asked how MLB can increase the percentage of black players on rosters. The number is six percent today and MLB reports there were 57 black players on Opening Day rosters this year, two fewer than in 2023.

“I say it’s about resources,” said Mullins. “You know, baseball is expensive. That is something that doesn’t go unnoticed. To be able to provide resources like gloves, bats, little things like that. (It's an) opportunity to be noticed. That is a big part of this game, exposure as well. To be able to create the opportunity for kids to get out there and showcase themselves.”

O’s reliever Dillon Tate had a similar response: “It’s an expensive game man. Some of that has to do with (the fact) there is a lot of equipment – bat, glove, cleats. It’s not cheap, so being able to get equipment to players that don’t necessarily have the resources.”

Tate was asked about what Robinson went through and the discrimination he faced just to play baseball at the highest level.

“It’s a reason it was handed to Jackie, as opposed to everybody else at that time. Again, it’s just a blessing to be able to wear that number and I’m thankful for the sacrifice.

"Any way we can get black players back in the game is great. Today is a big day for me too. Be an example. I’m happy to be that example.

“It’s a blessing man. I just feel a sense of excellence wearing that number across my back. Happy to have it," he said. 

Mullins believes having Jackie Robinson Day each year has served to further promote awareness of the man he was and his mark on this game.

“Yeah, 100 percent. It is a big part of baseball history and that is why we celebrate each year. It is that important for guys to understand what baseball has gone through, what the history of this country has gone through on top of that. Plays a big part in my life and other people’s lives," he said. 

Said Tate: “It’s really the sacrifice that somebody else took forth and I’m thankful for that. Thankful to be here because of the sacrifice of Jackie Robinson."

In celebration of Jackie Robinson Day, the Orioles and Nike will host 150 children from the Jackie Robinson Baseball League at tonight's game. The Orioles and Nike will also donate 12 copies of “Testing the Ice: A True Story about Jackie Robinson” written by Robinson’s daughter, Sharon, to Harlem Park Elementary Middle School.

O's game blog: O's host Minnesota in series opener
Bradish starting Tuesday at Bowie, Hays in lineup,...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.masnsports.com/