"For me and a lot of guys in here, Jackie getting accepted and having the opportunity to play in the big leagues … he opened the door for minorities in the big leagues," DeShields said. "He did a lot for this game. He's opened a lot of doors in general and gave us confidence that anything is possible.
"Wearing the No. 42 on the back will be something special."
Among those who also walked through the door was DeShields' father, who instilled in the son the story of Robinson.
"My dad had me on Jackie … books, pictures in my room growing up," said DeShields. "I've known a lot about Jackie since a very young age."
John Henry is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.