Everyone wearing No. 42

It’s Jackie Robinson Day around Major League Baseball — the 62nd anniversary of his breaking of the color barrier. Every team’s players and coaches are wearing No. 42 to honor Robinson, including the Reds and Brewers.

Jerry Hairston Jr.’s grandfather, Sam, was a Negro Leagues player and the first African American to play for the White Sox.

“It’s significant for me,” Hairston said. “It just shows it was that time period not too long ago where people of different skin color didn’t have the opportunity to play this game. We have come a long way. I’m glad Major League Baseball is recognizing it.”

Dusty Baker never got to meet Robinson but has long admired him.

“As a kid, most African Americans were Dodger fans because of Jackie Robinson, including my Dad,” Baker said. “When I transferred my junior year, there were only two blacks in the school, me and my brother. I was fighting quite a bit and my Dad would always remind me and I heard these words all the time, ‘what would Jackie do?’

“Actually, I played four sports in high school because of Bobby Bonds and Jackie Robinson. I’d go run track in what was left over after a baseball game.”

“He had quite an influence in my family.”

News you can use:

  • Laynce Nix has hit doubles in each of his last two pinch-hit appearances. His RBI double in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s win was big for insurance runs. Like many on the Reds bench, Nix doesn’t have a lot of pinch-hitting experience.

“This is something we’ve talked to our guys about. Most of our guys have never been in that role,” Baker said. “McDonald, Nix and Dickerson in particular. You talk to them extensively about how to pinch hit, how to approach pinch-hitting. I was very fortunate to have some live background experience to share.”

Baker played with pinch-hitting specialists like Manny Mota, Jay Johnstone and Lee Lacy with the Dodgers. He managed Lenny Harris with the Cubs.

“I know I can ask Dusty any questions as far as that role,” Nix said. “He’s told us he’s been around the best. We’ve had some good meetings about it and talked about it a little and it’s been real helpful.”

  • Willy Taveras entered the night with a .409 OBP and his reaching safely is helping Reds hitters as opposing pitchers get distracted with him on base. Pitchers like Manny Parra last night are slidestepping a lot and showing less control.

“They know I’m going to run and that means our guys will get a lot of fastballs. These guys drive in a lot of runs and I want to be on base when we score those runs. So far we look good.”

 

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