4/15 Cubs to wear No. 42 Tuesday

On Tuesday, the Cubs will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, and all uniformed personnel will wear No. 42 to commemorate the 66th anniversary of his breaking baseball’s color barrier. Cubs outfielder Dave Sappelt is looking forward to that.

“It’s a day that everybody should respect and at least put some kind of thought to — even if you don’t agree with it — change is what America is about,” Sappelt said. “I think it’s an important day. It’s in the back of my mind and I’m grateful.”

As part of the pregame ceremony, Cubs Hall of Famers Ernie Banks and Billy Williams will be recognized. Williams broke into the Majors not long after Robinson and Banks, and credits Robinson with being the pioneer who opened the door for all baseball players of color.

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., founder and president, Rainbow Push Coalition, will throw one of the ceremonial first pitches. Jackson gave the eulogy at Robinson’s funeral in Brooklyn, N.Y.

John C. McGinley will join Jackson for a first pitch assignment. McGinley stars as the Brooklyn play-by-play announcer Red Barber in the movie, “42: The True Story of An American Legend.” Barber was affectionately known as the voice of the Dodgers from 1939 to 1953. McGinley also will serve as the guest conductor for the seventh inning stretch.

Sappelt planned on seeing the new movie “42” which tells the struggles Robinson had to deal with.

“In school, they try to teach you about everything,” Sappelt said. “This is something important in history that everybody needs to know. It’s something I think everybody should know how the world once was, and the steps we took forward together. It wasn’t just black or Latin, Chinese, Japanese, it was everybody who took that step of acceptance. I think it’s definitely good.”

— Carrie Muskat

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