4/15 Jackie Robinson day

Today is Jackie Robinson Day, and it’s a special one for Cubs bench coach Pat Listach. His grandfather, Nora Listach, played in the Negro Leagues for the Kansas City Monarchs.

“He used to talk to us when we were kids and say he didn’t think it was fair that he wasn’t able to play in the Major Leagues just because of the color of his skin,” Pat said. “Jackie Robinson Day means a whole lot to me. It’s very important and it’s a big day.”

Major League Baseball honors Robinson, who broke the color barrier on April 15, 1947, with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Listach’s grandfather, who was an outfielder, would tell stories about his days barnstorming with the Monarchs. They would often stop in cities where there were places they couldn’t eat because they were black.

“It was an interesting time,” Pat said.

All of the Cubs players will wear No. 42 on Friday when they open their series in Denver against the Rockies.

“It means a whole lot,” Listach said about wearing Robinson’s number. “I’ve been living the dream and thanks to Jackie Robinson, a lot of us are living the dream.”

— Carrie Muskat

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