"It's a great day to be able to wear that number one day of the year to kind of signify what Jackie means to the game of baseball and people in general," David Price said. "He definitely meant a lot, the way he carried himself in that time period -- not only on the field, but off the field. It's just a testament to his character. And I think that's pretty special."
Already drawn to the story and the courage Robinson displayed while breaking Major League baseball's color barrier, Rays manager Joe Maddon grew even more connected to those events in recent years after reading "Branch Rickey: Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman" by Lee Lowenfish.
"Every year, you're reminded on Jackie Robinson Day about who he was and what he did," Maddon said. "And it's kind of like a holiday within the baseball season. It's kind of like a Christmas, an Easter, whatever -- for me, Thanksgiving. It's a baseball holiday that you get to remember this particular moment and how significant it is to this game and to our society as a whole.
"I'm just hoping that it's never lost on anybody. I know it's not lost on me. I know the recent movie ["42"] helped to get the message out there a little bit more. But that's one of those things that needs to be revisited, and we do that on an annual basis."
Mostly, Maddon said that Jackie Robinson Day reminds him of the word courage.
"If you have a little fear in your body at all, just think about what this guy did," Maddon said. "And sometimes that can help get rid of those fears. Because it was pretty tough what he did. A lot of the things we do on a daily basis don't come close to that."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.