the dodgers retired jackie robinson's number 42 back in 1972 at the same ceremony in which roy campanella and sandy koufax had their numbers retired. 17 years ago today, all of baseball retired the number shown on the 2012 topps manufactured patch card shown above.
players in 1997 who were currently wearing the number - either by choice or assignment - were allowed to continue to wear it. i went digging through my collection to see if i could find cards of these players wearing both the number 42 and the jackie robinson anniversary patch. let's have a look.
angels - no player wore 42 in 1997, however mo vaughn wore the number when he joined the team in 1999.
a's - buddy groom wore 42 in 1997. this 1998 pacific online red parallel lets us see the '4' in '42' plus the patch, although the sun is pretty bright on the patch
astros - jose lima wore 42 in 1997. i have this 1998 pacific card of lima, but it unfortunately shows neither his number or the patch
blue jays - no player wore 42 in 1997.
braves - no player wore 42 in 1997.
brewers - scott karl wore 42 in 1997. his 1998 pacific card shows both his number and the patch, which is awesome
cardinals - no player wore 42 in 1997.
cubs - no player wore 42 in 1997.
dodgers - no player wore 42 in 1997 (retired in 1972).
expos - no player wore 42 in 1997.
giants - kirk rueter wore 42 in 1997. his 1998 upper deck card showcases the patch, plus we get just a part of the '2' in '42'
indians - mike jackson wore 42 in 1997. like lima, his 1998 pacific card shows neither the patch nor the number, but it's all i've got.
mariners - no player wore 42 in 1997.
marlins - dennis cook wore 42 in 1997, but i unfortunately do not have a 1998 (or 1997) card showing him with the patch or the number.
mets - butch huskey wore 42 in 1997. here's his 1998 topps stadium club card showing the patch
padres - no player wore 42 in 1997.
phillies - no player wore 42 in 1997.
pirates - jason schmidt wore 42 in 1997. here's his 1998 upper deck card with the patch and the '4' in '42' visible
reds - no player wore 42 in 1997. 10 years later, ken griffey jr would ask the commissioner for permission to wear the number on april 15 leading the way for today's celebrations in which all field personnel wear the number.
rockies - no player wore 42 in 1997.
royals - tom goodwin wore 42 in 1997. he was traded to the rangers in midseason, so i don't have a royals card to show. i do have his 1998 topps card which shows the patch, and goodwin as a ranger
goodwin wore number 24 with the rangers, i assume due to the fact that sagmoen had 42. i also assume that goodwin could have gone back to 42 later in his career (except for his second stint with the dodgers) but he didn't.
tigers - fernando hernandez wore 42 in 1997, but i don't have a card to show.
twins - no player wore 42 in 1997, but butch huskey wore the number when he joined the team in 2000.
white sox - no player wore 42 in 1997.
yankees - mariano rivera wore the number in 1997. his 1998 topps card is a beauty, showing both the full number and the patch
rivera was, of course, the last active player to wear 42 exclusively, and i am sure will become the only player other than jackie robinson to have that number retired in his honor when the yankees get around to it.