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    Showing posts with label MLB honors Jackie Robinson with ballpark tributes. Show all posts

    MLB honors Jackie Robinson with ballpark tributes

    LaTroy Hawkins has heard the stories from his 87-year-old grandfather, about his days of picking cotton in Mississippi, about the times when there were no black players in big league baseball.

    And about what it meant when Jackie Robinson broke the game's color barrier.

    "Without Jackie, I wouldn't be in front of you," the Los Angeles Angels pitcher told several dozen kids at a Bronx ballfield Sunday. "Jackie's role in my life has been tremendous."

    From Dodger Stadium to Fenway Park, there were ceremonies as Major League Baseball honored Robinson and his legacy. Video tributes and on-field celebrations at every ballpark included his family, his former teammates, players from the Negro Leagues and NBA great Bill Russell.

    Players, managers, coaches and umpires all wore No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day to remember the 65th anniversary of the day the future Hall of Famer first took the field with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Markers on each base noted the occasion.

    "I'm very happy the players feel that connected," said his daughter, Sharon Robinson. "Back in 1997, players were saying, `Jackie who?' So we've come a long way."

    Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, Hawkins and several former players joined Sharon Robinson at a youth clinic in a park where the old Yankee Stadium stood. Smiling boys and girls from the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program in Harlem eagerly showed off their gloves and jerseys for two-time All-Star Harold Reynolds.

    There was a pregame tribute at the new Yankee Stadium on Sunday night featuring Rachel Robinson, Jackie's wife, and Sharon before the Angels played New York. Yankees stars Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano -- who is named for the baseball pioneer -- hugged the Robinsons as they gathered with three Tuskegee Airmen behind home plate.
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