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Banks, Williams join Cubs to honor Jackie

CHICAGO -- There were flags lining the roof of the upper deck at Wrigley Field on Tuesday to match the jersey number all Cubs and Rangers players wore to honor Jackie Robinson.

Jackie Robinson Day is held each year on April 15 to commemorate the Hall of Famer who broke baseball's color barrier in 1947. The Cubs were off on Monday.

"We're happy to join all of Major League Baseball on this historic occasion," Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement. "Jackie Robinson is a true American hero, and we are all greatly indebted to his contribution to not only baseball, but to American history and culture."

The teams honored Robinson before the game Tuesday with a ceremony that included Hall of Famers Ernie Banks and Billy Williams. Banks was the first black player to play for the Cubs.

Actor John C. McGinley threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He plays Brooklyn play-by-play announcer Red Barber in the movie, "42: The True Story of an American Legend," which was released in theaters last week.

McGinley also served as the guest conductor for the seventh-inning stretch. Seventeen-year-old Nikki Hayes, a senior at Plainfield East High School, performed the national anthem, and more than 300 Chicago Public School high school baseball players were on hand.

Joey Nowak is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak.
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