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CC attends Jackie's 100th birthday celebration

January 31, 2019

NEW YORK -- Jackie Robinson will never be forgotten, and the Jackie Robinson School (P.S. 375), located in Brooklyn, made sure of it on Thursday.In collaboration with the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the school pulled out all the stops when celebrating Robinson's 100th birthday. The celebration lasted more than two hours.

NEW YORK -- Jackie Robinson will never be forgotten, and the Jackie Robinson School (P.S. 375), located in Brooklyn, made sure of it on Thursday.
In collaboration with the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the school pulled out all the stops when celebrating Robinson's 100th birthday. The celebration lasted more than two hours.

The highlight of the day was when Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia and his wife, Amber, attended the celebration. Sabathia talked about how Robinson impacted his life.
"This is a big day," Sabathia said. "This is Jackie's birthday. To be asked to come here, I didn't even hesitate. There wasn't even a second thought. I just came out and had some fun with the kids. Jackie means everything to me. Obviously, I wouldn't be sitting here without him. What he went through and the man that he was -- it was almost like the movie. If you think about what he went through, I don't think I could have done it. To sacrifice for generations to come is an awesome thing."

Asked which of Robinson's traits he tries to incorporate into his own life, Sabathia said, "To be strong and deal with adversity. Just sitting here and listening to the kids chanting his name -- he would be 100 years old today. That legacy is what all players want. That's something you can't accomplish on the field. It's something you have to do off the field, leaving your name for kids and organizations to deal with after the fact."
Assistant principal Kirk Wilkinson was pleased to see Sabathia have an impact on the kids at the school.
"It was awesome to have [Sabathia come to the school]," Wilkerson said. "They see someone of their own culture, someone who came from the same neighborhood they live in right now. It's a fantastic way to give back."

Sabathia wasn't the only highlight of the day at the school. Students Jolene Jones and Fatoumata Diallo were on stage singing the Stevie Wonder song "Happy Birthday," which was dedicated to Robinson.
The poem, "Jackie Robinson, An American Hero," was recited by students Jada Nurce, Paul Augustin and Hadje Balde.
It was a history lesson for the kids who attended the ceremony. The school put on a short play on Robinson -- "How Jackie Saved the World." The play was about how Robinson integrated Major League Baseball. There was even a hip-hop video on Jackie that brought the house down.

Sabathia was blown away by the Step Team, a group of dancers from Dr. Gladstone H. Atwell Middle School 61.
"That was awesome. To have it all in [Robinson's] name, to have these schools named after him is a huge thing," Sabathia said.

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.