Wednesday, April 15, was Jackie Robinson Day at every ballpark in the major leagues. MLB was celebrating the 68th anniversary of its integration. Robinson had been signed to a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1947 season by the Branch Rickey. On April 15 his presence in the lineup officially integrated MLB.
At Citi Field, Al Jackson, an original 1962 Met, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Mets Hall of Famer Mookie Wilson.
Another link to Robinson at Citi Field is the name of the main customer entrance to the ballpark, Jackie Robinson Rotunda.
After the ceremony concluded, the smallest crowd of the three games played at the stadium watched the Mets easily defeat the Phillies, 6-1, to sweep the three game series.
Earlier in the day, David Wright, the Mets team captain and star player, was placed on the disabled list after straining his right hamstring the night before. He is expected to be out of action for approximately three weeks.
The attitude among the players is currently one of self-confidence even with their star on the bench. On the previous night, Mets skipper Terry Collins remarked, “Somebody has to pick up the slack.”
On Wednesday, that was accomplished. The Mets hitters hit safely 12 times; the Mets scored in five straight innings; two of the innings were led-off by home runs, Travis d’Arnaud in the third and Lucas Duda in the fifth. Mets starting pitcher in Niese obtained the win after giving up only one run in 6.1 innings. After the game, Niese commented, “This is one speed bump [Wright’s injury] in the road and we’re going to get over it.”
D’Arnaud was put in Wright’s #2 spot in the batting order. The Mets catcher remarked that the honor “meant the world to me.” He responded with two hits including the home run.
Eric Campbell was called up from Triple A to replace Wright at third. He singled in his first trip to the plate and scored the first Mets run of the game. He also made an excellent defensive play at third.
After the game ended, Collins said of the awakened self-confidence among his players, “Today was a big game for us with the loss of David. We’re going to do this with or without David.”
The sweep of Philadelphia tied the Mets with the Braves for first place in the National League East. They now prepare for the visit from the Miami Marlins.