On April 15, 1997, commissioner Bud Selig announces that Major League Baseball will retire uniform #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. The decision comes on the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s historic debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Players who are currently wearing the number are allowed to continue to do so until they retire.
U.S. President Bill Clinton and Jackie’s widow, Rachel Robinson, both speak during the 35-minute presentation, but the surprise of the evening occurs when acting Commissioner Bud Selig announces that Robinson’s number 42 will be retired in perpetuity for every team. On the field, the Mets beat the Dodgers, 5 – 0.