Nats pay homage on Jackie Robinson Day

Nats pay homage on Jackie Robinson Day

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals took part in a league-wide celebration of Jackie Robinson Day by honoring the first African-American player in Major League Baseball. Before the game, the Nationals had a trivia show with fans about Robinson.

The team also recognized the Jackie Robinson Scholars program prior to the series finale against the Reds.

Robinson was the first player to break baseball's color barrier and bring the Negro Leagues' electrifying style of play to the big leagues in 1947. He quickly became one of the game's top draws, most daring baserunner and a symbol of hope to millions of Americans. The Brooklyn Dodgers won six pennants in Robinson's 10 seasons, and he was named National League Most Valuable Player in 1949. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Because the league-wide tribute officially took place Sunday, the anniversary of Robinson's barrier-breaking debut, all Nationals players wore Robinson's No. 42.

Nationals right-hander Edwin Jackson is one person who appreciates what Robinson did for him.

"He is the reason we are able to play today," Jackson said. "Without him, who knows where we would be in the game, how long it would have taken to open up doors for African Americans to play baseball. To endure the things he endured, all the death threats, everybody hated him, he still continued to play. It says a lot."