Maddon said on the team's recent visit to Yankee Stadium, he saw a picture of Robinson in the manager's office that was a perfect summation of the legend's impact.
"There's a big poster, and under it they have the word courage, and the definition of courage," Maddon said. "That's what it means to me."
Right-hander Edwin Jackson echoed the sentiment, saying it was a symbolic statement that helped honor Robinson's
"As a person, he pretty much stuck his neck out on the chopping block to play and to get everyone else to let him
play," Jackson said. "It's definitely an honor and a number I will wear proudly."
Introduced in 2004, Jackie Robinson Day was established to honor Robinson's legacy as the first African-American
player to break the Major League color barrier. Robinson played his first Major League game at Ebbets Field on
April 15, 1947, as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson's uniform number 42 was retired throughout the Major Leagues in 1997.
"He's definitely an icon -- he represents something that is huge in this country, which is equality," Carlos Pena said.
"What he did on the field in addition to his character, what he was all about ... as I read more about him, I'm like,
'You know what? This guy was a good player, but he was strong up here and here,'" Pena said, pointing to his head
and his heart.
While each Major League player has had the option to wear No. 42, the Rays decided during a meeting in the
outfield on Wednesday to honor Robinson's enduring impact on baseball as a team.
"I think [Al] Reyes actually said it -- 'Let's all wear 42,' and no one had any objections to it," Pena said.
"You want to honor him, [but] sometimes you say, 'Am I even allowed to wear this uniform? Am I even worthy?' But
when you are doing this as a team, it has so much more meaning," he added.