Major League Baseball paid tribute to Jackie Robinson on Sunday, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Brooklyn Dodgers star breaking baseball's colour barrier.
In Robinson's honour, hundreds of players and managers wore his No. 42 at games across the U.S. and Canada on Sunday.
On April 15, 1947, Robinson became the first African-American in the majors when he played first base for the Dodgers against the Boston Braves at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field, an historic moment that helped change the face of sports and American society.
Chicago’s Wrigley Field displays No. 42 to honour Jackie Robinson on Sunday.
(Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press)
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and Rachel Robinson, Jackie's widow, attended Sunday's game between the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers in California. All of the Dodgers players wore No. 42 in honour of Robinson.
Los Angeles routed San Diego 9-3
Robinson's number was retired by Major League Baseball in 1997, but Selig "unretired" it for the day on Sunday.
The idea of wearing No. 42 in honour of Robinson was the brainchild of Cincinnati's Ken Griffey Jr., who petitioned Selig last week for the opportunity.
"It's just my way of giving that man his due respect," Griffey told MLB.com. "I just called Bud and asked him if I could do it. He made a couple of phone calls and said, 'Yeah.' We had a good conversation. It was about me wearing it on that day, and only that day."
'A player who changed the game'
Many of today's players still feel they owe a debt to Robinson.
"Obviously, Jackie was a player who changed the game," said Los Angeles outfielder Luis Gonzalez.
"He opened up the culture barrier for a lot of players. The stuff that he had to go through opened the door for all minorities to be able to play in this game."
Robinson, then 28, debuted at first base 60 years ago, but went on to win National League rookie of the year honours as a second baseman.
The one-time member of the Montreal Royals, a minor-league team, played 1,382 games over 10 years for Brooklyn, batting .311 with 137 home runs, 734 runs batted in, 947 runs scored and 197 stolen bases.
Robinson was a six-time National League all-star and winner of the 1949 NL Most Valuable Player Award when he hit a league-high .342.
The native of Cairo, Ga., was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1962.
Robinson died on Oct. 24, 1972, in Stamford, Conn. He was 53.