Outfielder Garret Anderson said that although he has a great appreciation for Robinson, he won't do it because Ken Griffey Jr., among others, thought of it first.If Anderson played on some teams around the league, this might be an awkward predicament -- can you imagine if Preston Wilson, the only African-American on the Cardinals, decided to take this stand? But the Angels actually have four African-American players on their 25-man roster: Anderson, Gary Matthews, Howie Kendrick and Darren Oliver -- not to mention the injured Chone Figgins. After Anderson passed, the Angels asked Matthews, though given his current status as Mr. HGH, it seems the team is running that by the league office before making it official.
"It wasn't my idea, and I'm not the type of person to jump on the bandwagon because someone else is doing something," Anderson said. "If I did it just because someone else was doing it, it would seem kind of empty to me."
Now, it's easy to write off Anderson's decision as simply being a little prick-ish, and in his case he didn't do himself any favors by refusing to elaborate on his reasons beyond, "I didn't think of it." To give him the benefit of the doubt, though, maybe he's just an American League guy through and through, and would prefer that Larry Doby, who broke the color barrier in the Junior Circuit with the Indians, get a little more recognition. No matter what his true motivations are, though, it's easy to see the Red Ribbon Brigade ganging up and villanizing Anderson before he has a chance to explain. And even if it seems trite not to follow Griffey's lead, whether he wears the number or not really has little bearing on if he's truly honoring Robinson's legacy.
Previously at FanHouse:
Dodgers Will Honor Jackie Robinson, Confuse Scorekeeper
Bud Selig Listens to Ken Griffey, Jr.
Before Civil Rights Game, Preston Wilson Looks at MLB's Race Issue
C.C. Sabathia Wants to See More Black People in the Locker Room