Cameron proud to wear No. 42
Padres outfielder helps honor Jackie Robinson's legacy
LOS ANGELES -- Mike Cameron's look was borrowed Sunday and so, too, were his pants.
Hours before the Padres' center fielder honored the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's Major League debut by wearing Robinson's No. 42 jersey, Cameron attempted to pull off a throwback look complete with baggy pants worn above the knee.
His was a good enough idea, but pulling it off proved to be trickier than Cameron figured.
When his own pants wouldn't allow Cameron the look he desired, he borrowed the game pants of injured catcher Josh Bard who, in all fairness, has a bigger frame than Cameron.
Then Cameron settled in for the 36-minute pregame ceremony at Dodger Stadium, one that he had been looking forward to since April 4 when Major League Baseball gave its players permission to wear Robinson's retired jersey number.
"As far as the ceremony went, it was definitely an unforgettable day," said Cameron, who caught a ceremonial first pitch from Hank Aaron, while Dodgers' outfielder Juan Pierre did the same from Frank Robinson.
"There was a lot of history in the ballpark today. I was just glad to be a part of it."
Cameron spent the hour leading up to Sunday's nationally-televised game on the field or in the Padres' dugout, spending time with Hall of Famer and former Padres slugger, Dave Winfield.
Cameron also spent a fair amount of time before the game Sunday with a group of 50 guests from the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA in San Diego.
San Diego manager Bud Black said that Cameron was the perfect Padres ambassador to wear No. 42.
"When this event -- as far as wearing the number -- came about, he was immediately the guy who felt as though he should wear it," Black said before the game. "I know he's looking forward to wearing it."
Cameron went 0-for-4 at the plate in the Padres' 9-3 loss to the Dodgers before a sold-out crowd of 55,298.
This wasn't the first time Cameron has been associated with Robinson.
In 2004, on the 57th anniversary of Robinson's Major League debut, Cameron -- who was then a member of the New York Mets -- accompanied Robinson's wife, Rachel Robinson, to the field at Shea Stadium on Jackie Robinson Day.
Commissioner Bud Selig, Rachel Robinson, Cameron and Mets teammate Tom Glavine participated in that ceremony, during which Major League Baseball made a $1 million presentation to Take the Field, a public-private partnership that is rebuilding the athletic facilities of New York City public schools.
Introduced in 2004, Jackie Robinson Day was created to honor the enduring impact of Jackie Robinson and his legacy as the first African-American player to break Major League Baseball's color barrier.
Robinson played his first Major League game at Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947, as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Robinson's debut, his uniform number 42 was retired throughout the Major Leagues.
Robinson's memory lives on today in initiatives such as the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which was founded in 1973 by Robinson's wife to provide education and leadership development opportunities for minority students with strong capabilities but limited financial resources.
Another program is Breaking Barriers, which utilizes baseball-themed activities to reinforce literacy skills, mathematics, science and social history while addressing critical issues of character development such as conflict resolution and self-esteem.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.