As most of you probably know, Major League Baseball retired No. 42 leaguewide over 15 years ago to honor Jackie Robinson, who broke the baseball color barrier in 1947. Yet, MLB decided that any player who was already wearing No. 42 before it retired the number could keep it.
As of this week, there were only two people in all of American professional baseball that still wore No. 42: New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera and Potomac Nationals first base coach/team owner Art Silber.
Silber, however, retired from his coaching position Thursday and ended his pursuit of becoming the last remaining bearer of No. 42 in baseball.
“I wore number 42 all these years just to tell our fans 'why,' Silber said in a press release. “I could tell our players at the beginning of the season, young Little Leaguers attending one of our games or on the 50th or 60th anniversaries of his first game, who he was and what he did.”
His reasoning was simple: he did not want to back into the record. Rivera suffered a season-ending knee injury May 3. Rivera was emphatic in saying that his career would not end via injury and he will indeed return to the Yankees next season, but in a sign of respect, Silber stepped away.
If it is any consolation, Silber is the last remaining player/coach in Minor League Baseball to wear No. 42.