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Blue Jays celebrate Jackie Robinson Day

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Blue Jays paid their respect to the memory of Jackie Robinson prior to their Tuesday night game against the Twins.

Under Commissioner Bud Selig's direction in 1997, Robinson's No. 42 was retired across all of Major League Baseball in an unprecedented tribute. All uniformed personnel wore that number for the Major League games scheduled throughout the nation on Tuesday night.

The Twins held a pregame ceremony 67 years to the day that Robinson broke the color barrier by playing in his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

"This time of year rolls around every year, and I'm always reminded about just the barriers that he broke, for the betterment of all, really, not just in baseball but for all people," Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey said. "So I see him much more as a humanitarian than I do as a baseball player -- even though he was a fantastic baseball player.

"The tentacles of what he did reach into the fabric of our culture in a way that I don't know if it could have otherwise been done. He brought a lot of people together. He opened a lot of people's eyes in a time when it was very hard to do that. It [is] incredible they get to represent him every year on that day."

Major League Baseball has been celebrating Jackie Robinson Day since 2004. To commemorate the anniversary, Minnesota hosted a Celebrate Diversity Day, which featured a lineup of musical and cultural performances.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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