NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
Major League Baseball on Friday will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day and the 75th anniversary of the baseball icon breaking the color barrier when he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
“Just being blessed, you know, just being happy that I got the opportunity to do what I’m doing now. Obviously everything he went through was rough, man, and kind of puts things in perspective because my dad was alive then and just knowing all the stories that he’s told me and everything that he went through, which was pretty much nothing compared to what Jackie went through,” Betts said in an interview on the “Black Diamonds” podcast. “It’s just a blessing to have someone who did it the way he did it. Carried himself the way he carried himself and was still great. You know, that’s hard to do.”
To celebrate Robinson this year, each Major League player will wear the No. 42 in Dodger Blue for the first time. Every player usually wears the number for the day, but it’s the first time each number will be in Dodger blue.
Robinson’s number is retired throughout baseball. Betts said that because of what Robinson means to the game and to the world, nobody should be wearing No. 42.
“It’s almost like you don’t want to wear it. Like, I feel like even though everybody’s wearing it at the same time, I feel like nobody should wear it. And just because, you know, people just know Jackie Robinson, he broke the color barrier,” he said.
“But people like myself who know so many stories and know so much that he went through, and being Black, it’s like nah, no, I don’t think anybody should wear it. I think it should be retired up in every stadium, and you know Jackie Robinson, you know everything about him, you should learn about him, learn about what he went through, learn about everything that really everybody, all the Negro League guys went through.
“But that number 42, you know, I get it, he has a day and I would never take that day away. But I’m on the other side. I think you just leave it up there and let it do its thing, and he’s the last person that should wear 42, you know?”
Betts is set to join the Robinson family at John Muir High School in Pasadena, California, before the team plays the Cincinnati Reds. The school will unveil a mural of Robinson, who starred in various sports at the school in the 1930s.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.