04/16/09 12:30 AM ET
Braves celebrate Jackie Robinson Day
Club recognizes college scholars prior to game
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
Observing the 62nd anniversary of that day that Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier, every Major League player, manager, coach and umpire who participated in a game on Wednesday wore Robinson's No. 42.
"I think it shows that we value and continue to appreciate everything that Jackie and the Robinson family went through to allow everybody to have an opportunity," Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton said.
During Wednesday night's game at Turner Field, all of the Braves and Marlins players donned Robinson's number, which was retired by all Major League clubs in 1997.
Garret Anderson, who is the only African-American player currently on the Braves roster, believes it was important that so many different races and cultures were represented in the support shown this year.
"I think it's cool that everybody does it, because it affects everybody," Anderson said. "It's not relegated to one race. It changed a lot of things for a lot of people. It's just cool to have the anniversary remembered every year, because for a lot of generations a lot of that probably got lost. A lot of kids probably didn't know who he was, other than that he was the first black player. But it was a lot more than that, and now people can maybe pass that information on to their kids."
During Wednesday's pregame ceremonies, the Braves honored Robinson's legacy with a video tribute. In addition, they recognized a group of college students who have been recognized as Jackie Robinson Scholars.
The Scholars recognized were: Sean Fennell (Morehouse College), Akil Foluke (Morehouse College), Michael Fullilove (Morehouse College), William Payne (Morehouse College), KeLea Randall (Spelman College), Shayla Thomas (Spelman College), Jasmine Wheeler (Spelman College), Chelsea Williams (Spelman College), Kyle Rhoden (Georgia Tech), Michael Tabb (Georgia Tech), Lara Riley (Emory University) and Kim Pressley (DeVry University).
One No. 42 jersey from every Major League club will be team-signed and auctioned off on MLB.com. The proceeds will benefit the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which provides four-year scholarships and graduate-school grants to minority students with records of academic distinction and leadership capacity who otherwise wouldn't have the financial resources to attend college.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.