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Jackie Robinson’s Number 42 Tired of Being 'Just a Number'

Celebrated Numeral Calls Press Conference

Level 42 flyer

Retired Number 42 reminds everyone who its favorite band of all time is. "Without me," it says, "you couldn't split 84 in half or double 21, and the boys in my favorite band would be Level 41 or 43. Very unhip in my book!"

NEW YORK, NY (JockStraps Wire Service) —The number that graced the uniform of baseball legend Jackie Robinson and the only number officially retired by every major league team apparently wants more. The earliest indication there was potential problem was last September in Dolphins Stadium in Miami. Marlins outfielder Reggie Abercrombie was shagging flies before a game and said he distinctly heard a voice emanating from the Number 42 banner. “It complained of just hanging there being just a number,” Abercrombie said. “It kind blew my mind because I didn’t think numbers could talk, but he, I mean it, was real vocal.”

Teammates of Abercrombie thought the young outfielder was making the story up until incidents began occurring at other major league parks in the closing weeks of the 2006 season. Outfielders throughout baseball began complaining of the Number 42 banner talking to them. This is the only known episode of an inanimate object voicing an opinion. Saturday, at Shea Stadium in New York, Number 42 held a press conference.

The following is an excerpt from his (or "its") statement: “I loved being associated with Jackie Robinson. He was a terrific ballplayer and human being. He took good care of me, treated me with dignity and respect, and laundered me regularly. But it’s been a lot of years now and I just want a life of my own and be associated with other things,” the elegant numeral stated. “I’m a nice number. You got a four and a two which equals six or eight if you‘re multiplying. Forty-two can represent other things like the band from the eighties, Level 42, the movie Summer of ‘42, and the age when Elvis died. Sure I’m Jackie’s retired number, but I’m more than just a number. I can cook, I play the piano, and number 26 says I’m not bad in the sack. Basically I‘m tired of being just a number.”

Though the number is retired, due to Major League Baseball’s grandfather clause, the only remaining player in baseball who wears number 42 is Yankees closer Mariano Rivera who wore the number before the league wide mandate was issued in 1997. Rivera said towards the end of the season he had a tough time getting his jersey on. “It was weird man,” said Rivera. “It was like there was a clothes hanger in it or something. It just didn’t want to go on my back. Then it started saying something about 42 being a common metasyntactic variable used by computer programmers and that blown save against Minnesota was an embarrassment.”

Commissioner Bud Selig said that Number 42 will stay right where it is adorning every ballpark in the league until it decides to get up for itself and do something else. “I realize of course that in the game of Risk, there are forty-two territories to be conquered,” Selig said. “But we can’t have this banner/number getting a mind of its own. What‘s next? It wants to represent the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything according to Douglas Adams’ series ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ where 42 is the mystical answer to everything? It needs to calm down and just be happy it gets to watch 2,430 games a season for free!!”

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Charles Epstein Headshot

CHARLES EPSTEIN

TSD Editor-In Chief and TSD Weekend Show co-host.
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TOM ALEXANDER

TSD Executive Editor and TSD Weekend Show host.
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Angelo Vecchio

ANGELO VECCHIO

DC's Foremost Authority on His Own Opinion
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KATIE RINKI

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