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Jackie Robinson Day humbling for Kendrick, Wilson

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Jackie Robinson Day has been celebrated annually by Major League Baseball since 2004, remembering the man and the moment when the Brooklyn Dodgers infielder broke the color line in 1947.

To Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, who is black, and left-hander C.J. Wilson, who is white, the message never gets old.

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ANAHEIM -- Jackie Robinson Day has been celebrated annually by Major League Baseball since 2004, remembering the man and the moment when the Brooklyn Dodgers infielder broke the color line in 1947.

To Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, who is black, and left-hander C.J. Wilson, who is white, the message never gets old.

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"Without Jackie Robinson doing what he did, I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you," Kendrick said Saturday.

"Americans should be the most tolerant people in the world," Wilson said. "Back then, we weren't."

Robinson's No. 42 has been retired by all Major League teams, but it's worn by every player, manager and coach on Jackie Robinson Day each April 15.

"It's a signature day for the sport," Wilson said. "Not too many singular person's name, number and performance can be celebrated like that, once a year and on a daily basis, and on a global scale."

Kendrick said each celebration "Gives me more and more appreciation for what he achieved, and what a special person he was to be able to do that. You have to be strong. I don't know if I would be able to do that -- be able to endure what he did, and make a statement. He got everything moving in the right direction."

Wilson said Robinson, the pioneer, "Made it possible for us to see some of the best players in the world. Not just the black players, but the Latin players, and anyone else who was excluded before. It's good to have a constant reminder of that."

The Angels, who host the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium on Tuesday night, plan an in-game video tribute to Robinson.

Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com.

 

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Howie Kendrick, C.J. Wilson