Ross, Padres honor Jackie's immense legacy

Ross, Padres honor Jackie's immense legacy

SAN DIEGO -- Pitcher Tyson Ross got a head start on celebrating Jackie Robinson Day, as he made a stop at the nearby Monarch School on Tuesday.

This wasn't Ross' first trip to the Monarch School, a school for children affected by homelessness. But it was his first chance to speak to students about Robinson's legacy, accomplishments and values.

On Wednesday, Ross and his teammates wore their home whites, all with Robinson's No. 42 across their back, as baseball again paid tribute to Robinson's impact on the game and on society.

"It's a special day," said Padres manager Bud Black. "It's really cool that baseball does this. What Jackie Robinson meant to our sport, our country, goes beyond saying.

"I'm really proud to wear No. 42 and I know all of our players are, too."

The ceremonial first pitch on Wednesday was thrown by Joe Balderas, a member of the Jackie Robinson YMCA, who has overcome adversity stemming from the loss of his brother due to gang violence.

He was escorted to the mound by Michael Brunker, the executive director of the Jackie Robinson YMCA. Bunker has presided over the Jackie Robinson YMCA since 1997, providing a safe haven for children in the community.

The ceremonial bell ringer before Wednesday's game was Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar Kenneth Patterson, who received this prestigious scholarship for his leadership abilities, commitment to public service, and for exemplifying Jackie Robinson's humanitarian ideals. Patterson works at TaylorMade Golf as a Project Leader for Athlete Activation.

Also on Wednesday, representatives from five of the Padres RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program sites received a $2,500 check from Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler.

In honor of Robinson's number, 42 youngsters from the Jackie Robinson YMCA will line the basepaths outfitted in No. 42 jerseys as part of the Future Padres program.

All 30 Major League Baseball clubs have their No. 42 jerseys up for auction, with proceeds benefiting the Jackie Robinson Foundation. To bid, visit mlb.com/42jersey.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.