It was a rare and almost startling sight Tuesday morning at Team USA’s workout, as they began preparation for the World Baseball Classic.
There was uniform No. 42, Jackie Robinson’s old number, back on the field again.
Willie Randolph, USA’s third-base coach, was wearing No. 42 and will wear it throughout the World Baseball Classic.
“It’s an honor,’’ said Randolph, the former New York Yankee All-Star second baseman and former manager. “I want to let everybody know he’s still here.’’
Robinson’s number was retired from baseball on April 15, 1997, but any player who wore No. 42 was permitted to continue wearing it until retirement. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was the last player to wear it when he retired after the 2013 season.
“When they sent the numbers out,’’ Randolph said, “I originally wanted to get No. 1. I thought if we win this thing, it would be a nice jersey to have.’’
The trouble was that Alan Trammell was already wearing No. 1.
Randolph looked down the list, saw No. 42, and was stunned it was available.
“I wanted to be respectful there, and asked if I could wear it,’’ said Randolph, who wore No. 30 as a player, and No. 12 as the Mets’ manager. “They said, “If you’re a coach, you can wear it.’ It was a no-brainer. It feels good. I’ve got to represent.
“And this is a way to honor him as a man.”