Upton Jr. honored to wear No. 42 jersey

Upton Jr. honored to wear No. 42 jersey

PHILADELPHIA -- The Padres and Major League Baseball will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day on Friday -- the 69th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier in 1947.

For Padres left fielder Melvin Upton Jr. -- who has donned the famous No. 42 on his uniform every April 15 since 2011 -- it's a reminder of all Robinson did to foster progress within the sport.

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"He broke barriers," Upton said. "Any time you can wear a jersey to represent him, the purpose of his cause and what he did for the game -- it's really an honor."

Prior to the Padres' game against the D-backs Friday night, a group of 50 children from the Jackie Robinson YMCA will line the bases during the pregame ceremony. They will each be given a brown Padres jersey with No. 42 on the back.

As has been the case for several years now, every player, manager and coach -- on both sides -- will wear a No. 42 jersey, paying tribute to Robinson.

"It's something where we all look forward to honoring him," Upton said. "He dealt with a lot of things that I don't think most of us could deal with today. What he went through and the path he paved for us -- it's pretty amazing."

Padres manager Andy Green echoed Upton's sentiment.

"It's an unparalleled impact on the game," Green said. "There's very few people who ever stood up to what he stood up to. To accomplish what he accomplished -- it's special, every time we wear the 42 on our back on that day."

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.