Santiago honored to wear Jackie's No. 42

Santiago honored to wear Jackie's No. 42

MINNEAPOLIS -- From the time Angels left-hander Hector Santiago made his Major League debut in 2011, he's collected jerseys.

Back then, Santiago was with the White Sox. He held on to his No. 42 for Jackie Robinson Day. The next year, he kept his special jersey for Jackie Robinson Day again. Year after year, Santiago doesn't let the No. 42 get away.

Santiago has plenty of the jerseys, such as the red Angels No. 42 he wore for Friday's 5-4 loss to the Twins. He plans to one day make a display of the No. 42 jerseys in his home.

"Hopefully, at the end of my career, I can do something where it's all the jerseys in one," Santiago said. "That's just kind of where it's at, it's an honor to go out there and be able to represent him and what he's done for our game."

The jerseys are beginning to accumulate for Santiago, but he's appreciative of his place in Major League Baseball and knows Robinson helped make his dream a reality.

"He gave us the opportunity the way he broke that barrier and kind of led the way and pave the path for us where we can come out here and be able to have a chance to even play professional baseball," said Santiago, who was born in New Jersey. "You look at this clubhouse, it's a mix of everything. What he went through to make that possible for us to come out here and wear his jersey today."

Santiago recognizes the struggles Robinson went through, first through Robinson's rise to the Majors and then succeeding in the face of discrimination.

"What he did, it makes it that much more amazing," Santiago said. "How you can get through all that hassle and abuse, whether it's verbal abuse, physical, to be able to come into the game and accomplish everything that he did, the mental side of it, being able to push everything aside and be able to go out there and succeed, it's impressive."

Brian Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.