BOSTON -- When David Price was a student, he didn't mind getting repetitive when it came to the subjects of his book reports. There were two trailblazers he couldn't stop thinking of, and he would always go out of his way to pay homage to them."That was all the book
BOSTON -- When David Price was a student, he didn't mind getting repetitive when it came to the subjects of his book reports. There were two trailblazers he couldn't stop thinking of, and he would always go out of his way to pay homage to them.
"That was all the book reports as a kid, Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente," said Price. "All those reports came easy as the years went on, because I feel like I did it every year in February on those two guys. They were fun to read about and fun to write about it. Hearing their stories kind of puts everything in perspective."
Price, along with his Red Sox teammates and every player in MLB, proudly wore No. 42 on Sunday in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. That tradition started in 2009.
There were additional on-field uniform elements this year, including a commemorative patch on all team caps and jersey sleeves, socks emblazoned with "42," and a brand new lightweight hooded fleece for batting practice and dugout wear, also featuring the "42" logo. MLB will donate all proceeds from the sale of such items to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Prior to the Red Sox-Orioles game at Fenway Park, Jackie Robinson Scholars were honored during pregame ceremonies.
The Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Program provides four years of financial assistance and direct program services annually to 225 highly motivated students attending 100 colleges and universities across the country, and has developed a mentoring curriculum to reach a broad range of college students beyond its core "JRF Scholars."
As an African-American, Price is thankful every day for the joy and opportunities baseball has provided him, and he knows none of it would be possible without the man whose number is retired in every Major League Baseball stadium.
"It's very special, for what Jackie did and meant to the game of baseball and just everyday life," Price said. "The times that he went through, the adversity that he endured both on and off the field, that speaks volumes to the type of person that he was and everything that he did for everybody was very special."
Timothy Beckham, who started Sunday's game at second base for the Orioles, has a subtle way of paying tribute to one of his heroes.
"The majority of the time, I do play with my pants up to honor Jackie Robinson and everything he went through and everything he had to endure as a human, on the field and off the field," said Beckham. "A lot of people don't recognize it like this, but he went through and had to endure as much as Martin Luther King did.
"And he was doing it by himself. He had his wife with him, his family with him, but it wasn't easy for someone to take on as much and still have success. It's impressive. The fact that he did what he did and broke the color barrier and made it possible for us minorities to play the game of baseball, speaks the world of him. He had everything he had to go through, he was in a professional sport where he was the minority. He paved the way for us and allowed us to be able to play the game we love."
For Alex Cora, Jackie Robinson Day served as another reminder of how grateful he is to be the first minority manager in Red Sox history.
"No way I am a big league manager without Jackie Robinson," said Cora. "No way I am a big league manager without Hiram Bithorn. He's the first Puerto Rican player in the big leagues. We know the history of the [Red Sox] franchise and what it means to have a minority manager, in the big leagues, too. I hope there's a platform that people can look at.
"Kids back home or everywhere else can know that, yeah, a kid from Caguas, Puerto Rico, growing up he loved playing baseball and all of a sudden he's a manager of one of the best franchises in the world. It's amazing. Without those two guys, no way I am a big league manager."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.