HOUSTON -- No Astros or Rangers player who took the field at Minute Maid Park on Sunday night had the opportunity to watch Jackie Robinson play in person, but his impact on the game of baseball is still remembered and appreciated in both clubhouses.The Astros and Rangers joined the rest
HOUSTON -- No Astros or Rangers player who took the field at Minute Maid Park on Sunday night had the opportunity to watch Jackie Robinson play in person, but his impact on the game of baseball is still remembered and appreciated in both clubhouses.
The Astros and Rangers joined the rest of the Major Leagues on Sunday in wearing the retired No. 42 Robinson wore when he broke baseball's color barrier in 1947 while with the Dodgers.
"It means a lot, not only to me, but to everybody here," Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara said. "I didn't have the chance to watch him play, but what I heard from everybody talking about him, it is an honor to wear that number."
• Where it began: Jackie celebrated in NYC, beyond
As has been tradition each April 15 since 2009, MLB celebrated Jackie Robinson Day with all players and on-field personnel wearing Jackie's iconic No. 42. For 2018, there will be additional on-field uniform elements, including a commemorative patch on all team caps and jersey sleeves, socks emblazoned with '42,' and a brand new lightweight hooded fleece for batting practice and dugout wear, also featuring the '42' logo. MLB will donate all proceeds from the sale of such items to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
"I was a kid, and mom and dad kind of explained it to me. And the older I get, the more knowledge you have," Astros outfielder George Springer said of Robinson. "We learned the struggles, the sacrifice, all the things that had to happen for him to be in that position and all the courage it took for him to do what he did was something. It's remarkable, in my opinion, to do what he did at that time period, and to get the recognition he and his family get today is deserved."
In honor of Robinson, the Astros hosted a pregame reception featuring Jackie Robinson scholars and alumni, former Astros players and several Houston community leaders. Judson Robinson, president and CEO of the Houston Area Urban League, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Additionally, members of the Astros Youth Academy took the field with the Astros players prior to the game.
"The opportunity he gave us to play in the big leagues, we all appreciate it," Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar said. "To wear the No. 42 is very cool. I watched the movie '42.' All the things that he went through for us to play the game is amazing."
The Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Program provides four years of financial assistance and direct program services annually to 225 highly motivated students attending 100 colleges and universities across the country and has developed a mentoring curriculum to reach a broad range of college students beyond its core "JRF Scholars."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.