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Mets, Fish honor Jackie with special bases

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- The No. 42 is prominently displayed in straight-away center field at Marlins Park, in perfect view from home plate. On Saturday, the number was seemingly everywhere, as all the Mets and Marlins players and coaches donned 42 on their backs.

League-wide, Major League Baseball celebrated the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the game's color barrier, and the day was a time for those involved in the game to reflect on the legacy of the man who created opportunity for so many.

Full Game Coverage

MIAMI -- The No. 42 is prominently displayed in straight-away center field at Marlins Park, in perfect view from home plate. On Saturday, the number was seemingly everywhere, as all the Mets and Marlins players and coaches donned 42 on their backs.

League-wide, Major League Baseball celebrated the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the game's color barrier, and the day was a time for those involved in the game to reflect on the legacy of the man who created opportunity for so many.

Full Game Coverage

"I'm proud of our history, and proud of the game to be able to cross that barrier," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

Video: NYM@MIA: Mattingly discusses Jackie Robinson

For the fourth straight year, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson is wearing a customized pair of New Balance cleats that a Chicago-based company called "The Sole Revival" made for him to commemorate the day.

Granderson plans to auction off the cleats at CurtisGranderson.com/JRD, with proceeds going to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Tweet from @cgrand3: In 1947, Jackie Robinson stood up in front of thousands of people who were rooting against him & did what he did best - played ball! #hero pic.twitter.com/NHoic5zap8

"It's a great day to get a chance to play with such a diverse group of guys," Granderson said. "I've gotten a chance to travel the world and promote the game of baseball because of what Jackie did 70 years ago. It's amazing to think that that much time has passed. You look around, especially this clubhouse, the way things are versus when Jackie broke in 70 years ago -- diverse coaching staff, diverse training staff, players. Across the board, it's really neat to see. And then you think about how it used to be. So it's kind of a good and bad situation, but definitely more good than anything."

Tweet from @cgrand3: Here���s a sneak peek of my custom @newbalance #JRD cleats! Early bidding starts now so #DONATE for a chance to win! https://t.co/mjXl8o6t1V pic.twitter.com/nh13XM6dtU

In honor of the day, the Marlins had their inaugural Jackie Robinson Day Invitational on the West Plaza of Marlins Park. Kids from Overtown Youth Center participated in a kickball game in Jackie Robinson's honor.

For the Marlins-Mets game, special commemorative bases, with Jackie Robinson's name and number on it, were used.

Also on Saturday, the Mets' Class A affiliate played at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla., where Robinson trained when he was with the Dodgers.

Tweet from @Marlins: Today, we play for No. 42. #JackieRobinsonDay | #LetsPlay pic.twitter.com/qYXeNlylDl

Marlins outfield coach Lorenzo Bundy, in his second season on the Marlins' staff, previously was in Los Angeles with Mattingly.

In 2014, Bundy became the first African-American to be named third base coach in Dodgers history, and he met Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson.

"We take a lot of pride in that," Bundy said. "I met Rachel. That was one of the proudest moments of my life. What a special lady."

Bundy still cherishes a picture he has with Rachel Robinson.

And to this day, Bundy has a photo on his iPad of Jackie Robinson wearing a Dodgers uniform, along with one of the late Hall of Famer's quotes: "Life is not important, except the impact one has on the lives of others."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New York Mets, Miami Marlins