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Cubs, Braves honor Jackie before makeup

Special to MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Tucked among a storage unit that houses some of Cubs manager Joe Maddon's personal belongings is a framed poster bearing the image of Jackie Robinson.

For years, the poster hung in the visiting manager's office at old Yankee Stadium. Then the manager of the Rays, who played in the final game at the famed park, Maddon asked clubhouse manager Lou Cucuzza Jr. if he could purchase the poster. It wasn't for sale, Maddon was told. But he could have it and the poster immediately became one of Maddon's prized baseball collectibles.

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CHICAGO -- Tucked among a storage unit that houses some of Cubs manager Joe Maddon's personal belongings is a framed poster bearing the image of Jackie Robinson.

For years, the poster hung in the visiting manager's office at old Yankee Stadium. Then the manager of the Rays, who played in the final game at the famed park, Maddon asked clubhouse manager Lou Cucuzza Jr. if he could purchase the poster. It wasn't for sale, Maddon was told. But he could have it and the poster immediately became one of Maddon's prized baseball collectibles.

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The quote, attributed to Robinson, "Courage is the one quality that ensures all others," is among Maddon's favorites.

Tweet from @Cubs: It���s always a good day to honor No. 42. pic.twitter.com/VN1grXYEax

"If you have [courage], if that's part of your makeup, you can be a lot of different things," Maddon said before Monday's Braves-Cubs game, a makeup from April 15 when Jackie Robinson Day was celebrated around the Major Leagues. "But if you're lacking that one quality, it's very difficult to include the rest of the better qualities in life. [Robinson] is all of that -- he speaks to courage and I've always respected that about him."

Players from both teams wore jerseys bearing No. 42 to honor Robinson, and jerseys and caps alike had a "42" patch stitched onto them. While baseball sets a day aside each season to honor Robinson, players acknowledge that the tradition never gets old.

"[Robinson] changed baseball for a great reason," Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber said. "Just the way that he handled it and faced adversity, it's a great example for all of us to learn from. You can't thank that guy enough for what he did for the game of baseball, because he changed it positively for everyone."

Braves catcher Tyler Flowers was on the disabled list on April 15 and would have missed Jackie Robinson Day had the weather cooperated in Chicago. Back in the lineup on Monday, Flowers said he is grateful to have the chance to wear No. 42.

"I've always thought it's a very special day to reflect and remember the people that kind of set the stage before us and what they had to go through, specifically Jackie and other players who broke ground to give opportunities to players behind them," Flowers said.

Tweet from @Braves: Thank you, Jackie. #Jackie42 pic.twitter.com/IvXaDH0ufz

Braves shortstop Charlie Culberson was glad to see the game rescheduled, allowing Robinson to be honored in Chicago.

"We're a month late on it, but there's a reason why Jackie has his own day," Culberson said. "What he did for this game and more than just the game of baseball."

Jeff Arnold is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. John Jackson contributed to this story.