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Blanco: 'World seems different' thanks to Jackie Robinson

All 30 clubs wear No. 42 to honor MLB trailblazer

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco said he's had the same reaction every time he's watched the movie "42," which chronicles the late Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier.

"I watched the movie a couple years ago and I cried," said Blanco, who was born in Venezuela. "Every time I watch it, I cry. I cry because of all the things he passed through to become who he is and what he wanted to accomplish and his dream. Because of that, everybody else has a chance, everybody else has a different view of other players. Latin American players and everybody else.

"The whole world seems different. We're really thankful to him and appreciate what he did. I'm really proud that he did what he did and I've just got to thank him for doing all that and it made me what I am right now."

:: Jackie Robinson Day | Civil Rights Game ::

All 30 Major League teams honored the former Brooklyn Dodger on Jackie Robinson Day, 68 years to the day after he became the first African-American to play in a big league game.

Every player, coach and manager in the Major Leagues wore No. 42 on Wednesday.

"It's special," said Giants right fielder Justin Maxwell, an African-American who grew up in Maryland. "Any time you get to wear No. 42 in memory of Jackie Robinson and all he went through, it's special. I had the opportunity to watch the movie with my six-year-old son a few years ago, and he loved it.

"Not a lot of young kids really know what he went through, so to have the movie to kind of illustrate and show what he went through is kind of special."

Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt called Robinson a "historical icon" whose accomplishments and impact went beyond the baseball diamond.

"I think for me what I see when I see that number is a man that stood for something greater than himself, and a lot of things that I do off the field are the same way," Affeldt said. "I feel very thankful that he did what he did and he was able to go through the struggles and he persevered, and he made a breakthrough for a lot of great athletes to play this game."

The Giants' roster includes players of many races and nationalities. They have players from Japan, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the United States.

"That's because of him," Blanco said of Robinson. "You see all the countries united on one team. What we can accomplish with that, winning a World Series. We've got to thank him. Without him that couldn't be possible. I think that's amazing."

Before the game, the Giants showed a video tribute to Robinson on the big screen beyond center field. On the field, the Giants honored a handful of current and former students who have received scholarships from the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which was started in 1973 by Jackie's wife, Rachel Robinson.

Eric Gilmore is a contributor to
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