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D-backs in awe of what Robinson went through

Gibson: 'The thing that he did most of all was that he stood up for all of us'

PHOENIX -- A couple of days ago, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson was thinking about Jackie Robinson and what he must have gone through while breaking the color barrier.

"I just thought about what he must have went through in 1947," Gibson said. "We all go through tough things in life. It's almost incomprehensible. I mean, how do you comprehend what this guy went through?"

Gibson, like every player and coach in Major League Baseball on Tuesday, donned uniforms with Robinson's No. 42 on the back to celebrate the anniversary of Robinson playing in his first big league game.

"It's an awesome experience," rookie shortstop Chris Owings said. "This is my first time getting to do it. I've seen it every year and it's pretty cool to actually get to wear it myself. When you think about what he did, I don't think I could have done it."

In 1997, on the 50th anniversary of Robinson's debut, Commissioner Bud Selig announced that the No. 42 would be retired throughout Major League Baseball.

Those players who were wearing No. 42 at that time were allowed to continue wearing it, but the number was not allowed to be issued. Yankees legend Mariano Rivera became the final player to wear No. 42, and his retirement last year means that no active player has the number.

"If there's ever somebody that is given an honor, this one is well deserved," veteran third baseman Eric Chavez said. "I'm glad that baseball is going to honor him forever. I mean, we're going to honor him for as long as baseball is being played, so I think if anybody deserves that honor, it's Jackie."

While Robinson indeed broke the color barrier, his legacy is even more than that to Gibson.

"The thing that he did most of all was that he stood up for all of us," Gibson said. "So to honor that and respect that, and to talk about it and to pass on what he'd want us to pass on is important. He was willing to really risk his life and his livelihood to do that, and I think it encourages us as we stop and reflect on it to do the same. To give and try and make situations better as opposed to getting bogged down on some of the things that aren't going so good in our lives. I certainly respect that man and what he's done. We should all try -- and it's good to reflect on that today -- do what he would want us to do."

Prior to the game, the D-backs recognized Arizona Jackie Robinson Foundation scholar, Lucia Carbajal, and the Major League Baseball All-Star Arizona Diamondbacks Branch Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year, Edreyse Sharkey, during a special ceremony.

The D-backs will also contribute $4,200 -- in honor of Robinson's No. 42 -- to both the Jackie Robinson Foundation and MLB All-Star Arizona Diamondbacks Branch Boys & Girls Club.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
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