Sappelt looking forward to honoring Jackie

Sappelt looking forward to honoring Jackie

CHICAGO -- On Tuesday, the Cubs will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, and all uniformed personnel will wear No. 42 to commemorate the 66th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier. 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 he credits Robinson with being the pioneer who opened the door for all baseball players of color.

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.

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., founder and president of 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 portrays 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 1939-53. McGinley will also serve as the guest conductor for the seventh-inning stretch.

Sappelt planned on seeing "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 is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.