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Torre, Braves reflect on MLK's life, legacy

Special to MLB.com

ATLANTA -- The news of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, broke when Hall of Famer Joe Torre and his Braves teammates were in a Minor League clubhouse prior to the start of the season.

Torre, now MLB's chief baseball officer, reunited with teammates Ralph Garr and Felix Millan at SunTrust Park on Wednesday morning prior to the finale of the Braves' series against the Nationals to reflect on King and how far race relations have progressed since his death.

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ATLANTA -- The news of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, broke when Hall of Famer Joe Torre and his Braves teammates were in a Minor League clubhouse prior to the start of the season.

Torre, now MLB's chief baseball officer, reunited with teammates Ralph Garr and Felix Millan at SunTrust Park on Wednesday morning prior to the finale of the Braves' series against the Nationals to reflect on King and how far race relations have progressed since his death.

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Torre, who met the civil rights icon in the clubhouse a few years prior to the assassination, said learning the news was devastating.

"There were a lot of stunned people," Torre said. "There was a silence that was defeating, I do remember that."

Tweet from @FOXSportsBraves: "His presence is still felt."@MLB chief baseball officer and former @Braves star Joe Torre reflects on the legacies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Hank Aaron for #MLK50. pic.twitter.com/tLInhXxXvn

Garr expressed admiration of King's character and peaceful ideology.

"He wasn't about retaliation and evil against evil and stuff like that," Garr said. "He was a humble man, and that's what made me so proud of him."

Millan, who is Puerto Rican, said what King accomplished was special.

"Being a Latino baseball player, I was at that time very, very grateful for him, because he was doing not only for black people but for everybody," Millan said. "He did a lot of good things."

Torre, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch, said King's presence is needed today.

"I think we've made strides obviously, but I still think we've got a ways to go," Torre said.

In honor of King, the Ebenezer Baptist Church choir performed "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and also sang the national anthem.

Aimee Sachs is a contributor to MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves