Cubs to honor Robinson on Tuesday at Wrigley

Cubs to honor Robinson on Tuesday at Wrigley

CHICAGO -- The Cubs will honor the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier on Tuesday at Wrigley Field, when all uniformed personnel will wear his retired No. 42.

In 1997, under the direction of Commissioner Bud Selig, Robinson's No. 42 was retired across all of Major League Baseball in an unprecedented tribute.

"We're happy to join all of Major League Baseball on this historic occasion," Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement. "Jackie Robinson is a true American hero, and we are all greatly indebted to his contribution to not only baseball, but to American history and culture."

As part of the pregame ceremony before the Cubs face the Rangers in an Interleague game, Hall of Famers Ernie Banks and Billy Williams will be recognized. Banks, who was the first African-American to play for the Cubs, considered Robinson a mentor during their time in the Majors. Banks and Robinson also share the same birthday, Jan. 31.

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 of the Rainbow Push Coalition, will throw one of the first pitches. Jackson and Robinson were friends, and 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 the voice of the Dodgers from 1939-53. McGinley will also serve as the guest conductor for the seventh-inning stretch.

After the game, Cubs Authentics will auction a game-worn No. 42 jersey signed by all Cubs players and a flag from the roof of Wrigley Field. Nearly 50 "42" flags will adorn the Wrigley roof for the game. Proceeds will go to Chicago Cubs Charities.

The Cubs will host more than 300 Chicago Public School high school baseball players at Tuesday's game in recognition of the celebration. Several CPS baseball players will be recognized during the pregame ceremony.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.