Significance of Jackie's day not lost on Astros

Significance of Jackie's day not lost on Astros

HOUSTON -- Jackie Robinson was a topic of conversation in the Astros' clubhouse on Friday, the 69th anniversary of Robinson making his Major League debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers and breaking the game's color barrier.

The significance of the day isn't lost on the players and manager A.J. Hinch.

"He paved the way for a lot of us to play the game, and it really means a lot to be able to wear No. 42 tonight," shortstop Carlos Correa said. "The reason we're here today is because of Jackie."

April 15 of each year is Jackie Robinson Day, Major League Baseball's annual celebration honoring Robinson's contributions to both baseball and society. Though Robinson's uniform is retired, on this date all players and coaches wear No. 42.

"This day means a lot," infielder Marwin Gonzalez said. "We're here because of him. He did a lot for this game, the way he carried himself. It's amazing what he did. He means a lot for a lot of people in this game.

"We're here because of him. Two hundred, 300 years from now, people will remember him."

A tribute to Robinson was displayed on the videoboard at Minute Maid Park before Friday's game.

"I hope our players understand the magnitude of what Jackie Robinson means," Hinch said, "not only to our game but to our society. The impact and the doors that were opened by him in our game are hard to overstate. The luxuries that we enjoy, the benefit of being a big leaguer, the joy that we get out of playing this game as a group -- and we have guys from all over the world -- that get to play this game ...

"And he helped establish that. That's why 42 is a fixture in our game and the Jackie Robinson name will live forever."

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner threw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to Friday's game. More than 400 members of the Astros' Urban Youth Academy were in attendance.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.