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Padres to host 42 youngsters on Robinson Day

SAN DIEGO -- Words to live by, for everyone, remain those uttered by Jackie Robinson years ago: A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.

With that thought echoing through the years, the Padres will join the rest of Major League Baseball on Tuesday as the game celebrates Jackie Robinson Day.

It is something to which the players look forward.

"It should be" celebrated, Padres closer Huston Street said. "Absolutely. The barrier he broke in baseball transcends the world, really.

"What he stood for, the example he set, what he stood for as a human being. He made it better for everybody, and taught us. He deserves recognition."

Street mentioned the significance this year of all of the players wearing No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day now that Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, the last player whose No. 42 was grandfathered in after Major League Baseball removed the number from circulation, retired at the end of last season.

"If anybody deserved the right to wear it, it was Mo," Street said. "But it's pretty cool when we all wear 42."

As part of the festivities on Jackie Robinson Day, the Padres will host 42 youngsters from the Jackie Robinson YMCA. They all will line the first-base line wearing Padres No. 42 jerseys, while on the third-base line will be representatives from the Padres' RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) leagues. In 2014, those leagues are collectively expected to reach more than 700 local youth, ages 5-18, doubling the 2013 reach.

The Padres also are planning a pregame performance at the Park in the Park by the Jackie Robinson YMCA drum line, the Thunder Squad. And the ceremonial first pitch for that night's game against the Rockies will be thrown by Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar Kenneth Patterson.

"I think it's great," Padres outfielder Will Venable said of the Jackie Robinson Day celebration. "As a whole, I think baseball does a great job of paying tribute to the important people in the game, and in the world."

Scott Miller is a contributor to
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