NEW YORK -- Willie Randolph spoke constantly last April about what it meant to represent Jackie Robinson's legacy, to wear his No. 42 for one game, and, in doing so, to honor his childhood hero. Randolph has always held a deep respect for those who broke down barriers for him, and now he'll have the chance to share that feeling.
The entire Mets roster will wear No. 42 during baseball's Jackie Robinson Day on Tuesday, an event that this year will base its ceremonies at Shea Stadium.
"Last year, I was fortunate enough to wear No. 42," Randolph said. "But [general manager] Omar [Minaya] and I were talking the other day, and this year, we felt it would be tremendous if the entire team could wear the number and feel the same sense of pride that I felt last year."
Robinson's number was retired throughout baseball in 1997, before Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. requested special permission to wear it during Jackie Robinson Day last April. Commissioner Bud Selig was so enamored by the idea that he encouraged players throughout baseball to follow suit, and renewed the gesture this season.
Several entire teams wore Robinson's No. 42 last season, but the Mets, citing their manager's Brooklyn roots and close relationship with the Robinson family, encouraged only Randolph to do so. This year, they were more willing to give all their players that opportunity -- and the Mets were eager to accept.
"You're always interested in doing it," Marlon Anderson said earlier this week. "That's an easy something to want to be a part of."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.