Blanco among Giants awed by Jackie's 'spirit'

Blanco among Giants awed by Jackie's 'spirit'

LOS ANGELES -- Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco recalled the emotional surge that rose within him when he watched "42," the highly acclaimed 2013 biopic that told Jackie Robinson's compelling story of breaking Major League Baseball's color line.

"His spirit and desire to become what he wanted to be inspired me," Blanco said Friday, as the Giants prepared to join all Major League clubs in celebrating Jackie Robinson Day.

Wearing Robinson's jersey No. 42 as part of the observance was a distinct honor for Blanco and other Giants.

Left-hander Javier Lopez also was stirred by Robinson's deeds. "To do that with style and grace, never reacting to the fans, just focusing on the game, spoke volumes," Lopez said. "Not only to baseball itself, but also society."

Giants manager Bruce Bochy echoed the importance of Robinson's broader impact.

"He played such an important part in the Civil Rights movement," Bochy said.

Blanco noted that the representation of minorities in other professional sports grew after Robinson reached the Major Leagues in 1947.

"He opened the world's eyes to sports, not just baseball," Blanco said.

Lopez observed that one of Robinson's most overlooked yet significant triumphs was establishing his presence inside his own clubhouse, which included avowed bigots.

"To be able to do that and do it flawlessly, it resonates with a lot of people, and it resonates with me," Lopez said. "He was able to break down a lot of barriers and wear the badge with honor."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.