(Photo by Gary Quintal)
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, April 17- The statistics registered during the game played between the Yankees and Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium on April 16 were extremely appropriate for a Jackie Robinson Day contest. The enduring legacy of Robinson’s achievement in integrating the national pastime has been celebrated at every ballpark in the majors on April 15 or the date of the next home game since 1997, the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s first game in the majors.
On Tuesday night, April 16, every player, coach, manager and umpire on the field at Yankee Stadium wore Robinson’s #42. In a short ceremony held before the game began, two of the 1,400 scholarship recipients from the Jackie Robinson Foundation were recognized.
Arizona reached the scoreboard first, scoring two runs in the top of the third. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases. A fly ball to center by catcher Miguel Montero was the first out of the inning, but also drove in the first run of the contest. The next batter, Cody Ross, singled to knock in the second run.
After leaving the bases loaded in each of the first two innings, the Yankees took the lead in the fourth. The first two batters, Lyle Overbay and Chris Stewart, singled to left. Robinson Cano, named in honor of Jackie Robinson, homered to right to score three runs, which were sufficient to ensure the Yankee victory.
Not only does Cano’s given name honor Robinson, but he wears #24, the reverse of Jackie’s #42, now retired on all clubs by Major League Baseball, to represent the debt he feels he owes to the Brooklyn Dodger legend,
Cano, batting a healthy .326 in his 12 games this season is currently on a tear. He is batting .500 (13 for 26) in his most recent six games. Seven of his 12 hits were for extra bases, four doubles and four home runs. He has driven in 11 runs in that span. That the Yankees have won five of those six contests was noted by reporters and Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who after the game commented, “When he got hot, we got going. He doesn’t take it for granted that he’s a good player. Robbie works very hard.”
After loading the bases in the bottom of the seventh, a fly ball by Eduardo Nuñez drove in the final run of the game, making the score an appropriate 4-2.
Mariano Rivera, the only major league player currently wearing #42, entered the game in the ninth frame. As expected Rivera retired all three batters he faced to earn his third save of 2013 and the record setting #611 in his renowned career. Girardi quipped to reporters, “It’s kind of funny seeing #42 facing three #42’s.”
Yankees ace CC Sabathia (2-1) will face undefeated Wade Miley (2-0) in game two of the series on Wednesday night.