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You may have noticed a recent connection made between pinstriped history and the current Knicks squad, with trade-deadline acquisition Josh Hart donning a No. 32 pinstriped jersey before a game last week. Hart was honoring his great-uncle, Yankees legend Elston Howard, the first Black player to play for the organization, in 1955, eight years after Jackie Robinson broke the MLB color barrier for the Brooklyn Dodgers. “We just had the jersey made, kind of a sentimental piece for my family and myself. Now I gotta work on getting my dad one,” Hart told Sports+ earlier this week. “It’s something that’s very neat to me, and it’s a good story behind it. Being in New York now, where he played, it’s really special.” Hart’s father, Moses, is the son of a sister of Arlene Howard, the 12-time All-Star catcher’s widow, and Moses Hart Sr.
“It really is wonderful,” Cheryl Howard, Elston’s daughter, told Sports+ in a phone interview on Wednesday. “We all are very proud of Josh. He’s just a lovely young man, and it’s really great that he’s now in New York, where my father played and coached for many, many years. If my dad were alive now, he’d be very proud, too. “It’s such a neat thing that he’s a New York Knick. It really is great. Someone sent me the picture of Josh wearing Dad’s jersey, and I’ve noticed that the New York fans have really embraced him already, too. It’s like he’s just fit right in and they’ve accepted him wholeheartedly. “I hope he sticks with them and it lasts. It would be wonderful if he gets a chance to stay.” The Knicks’ PR staff coordinated with the Yankees’ marketing, promotions and special events department, headed by Debbie Tymon, to get a No. 32 jersey — which is retired in Monument Park — to Hart.