Mariners celebrate Juneteenth with Steelheads jerseys, former players

President Joe Biden signed legislation that made Juneteenth a federal holiday in June of 2021 to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. 

The Juneteenth flag flew high above T-Mobile Park on Sunday as a crowd of around 40,000 joined the Mariners in marking the federal holiday.   

Current and former Seattle Mariners including Harold Reynolds and Randy Winn kicked off the celebrations with a "Generations of the Game" roundtable discussion.  

"Just breaking barriers, that’s what’s the sport is about," said Harold Reynolds, former Seattle Mariners player. 

The panel talked about how baseball has changed over the years and how it can be a driver of diversity now and into the future. 

Former Seattle Sonics player "Downtown Freddie Brown" threw out the first pitch. Players also wore Seattle Steelheads jerseys this week and hats of the team were given out Sunday to celebrate the Negro League's impact on baseball. 

"I think it just shows the openness and diversity that John Stanton and the Mariners have for celebrating the first Juneteeth with the Mariners.  I just think it’s outstanding," said Fred Brown.  

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"When you are talking about being a black man in America, and you are talking about  social justice," said Randy Winn.  He played for the Mariners from 2003 to 2005. 

Winn says he's reflecting on the players that paved the way for the younger generations on Juneteenth. 

"When you think back about the legacy of Jackie Robinson, the legacy of Larry Doby, and even the legacy of guys like Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and all the people that didn’t get to play in the big leagues, remembering the Negro Leagues, remembering what it represented. It represented an opportunity to stage for black ball players to go out and compete, and show what they were capable of," said Winn.  

The group says remembering the past is an important part of moving forward. 

"Remembering the people before us. Remembering how the world was and how we are trying to strive to become better. I think all those things should be thought about and remembered today," said Winn.  

"The fact that we are going through some really tough times with COVID and with diversity and dissension across the board, this kind of brings everybody together," said Brown.  "That’s what America is all about bringing folks together and celebrating as one."

Sunday's panel was presented by Microsoft. Mariners broadcaster Dave Sims hosted the panel.