PITTSBURGH -- All players in Monday's game against the Cardinals wore No. 42 jerseys in honor of Jackie Robinson on the 66th anniversary of the day when baseball's color barrier was broken by the Dodgers infielder.
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. One No. 42 jersey from each club will be autographed by all of the players and coaches and auctioned on MLB.com, with proceeds benefitting the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
"We take pride in wearing the number 42 on our back," Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen said. "It's something that happens once out of the year, and for myself personally it means a lot, just to think about what he overcame and what he endured and the things that he went through. That's just to say the least; it just feels good to feel like you're a part of it, and it feels good just to put that jersey on."
McCutchen said he would have loved to have had dinner with Robinson.
"He's a guy whose brain I would really have liked to have picked back in the day," McCutchen said. "A guy who went through a lot, he's a person that I would have loved to have talked to. Just to ask him his mindset, because this game is so mental and on top of the things that he had to go through and to have the mental toughness that he had. It had to be through the roof; he had to be uncommon."
"It would have been nice to sit down and ask him that, what he did and how did he got through it," McCutchen added.
The film "42" about Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier premiered last weekend, and McCutchen, acting as a film critic, gave it a thumb's up.
"I saw the movie this off-season," McCutchen said. "It's a great movie, and if you haven't seen it, I encourage people to go see it, because you get a bigger perspective on the game of baseball and a bigger perspective on the change, and it's good for a lot of people to go see."
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.