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Rachel Robinson honored on 100th birthday at All-Star Game: 'Today's a special day'

The crowd at Dodger Stadium, not to mention players from both teams, wished her a happy birthday.
Credit: AP
FILE - Los Angeles Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts, right, greets Rachel Robinson, wife of Jackie Robinson, before a baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Friday, April 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

LOS ANGELES — Baseball's All-Stars gathered on the field before Tuesday night's game at Dodger Stadium to honor Rachel Robinson on her 100th birthday.

Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts led the tribute to the widow of Jackie Robinson, speaking to the crowd from the infield grass following the Canadian and U.S. national anthems. Players from both teams fanned out across the grass behind him.

“Today's a special day. It's Miss Rachel Robinson's 100th birthday,” Betts said. “So on the count of three, I want everybody here to say: `Happy Birthday, Rachel!'”

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A video tribute followed on the hexagonal DodgerVision scoreboards in left and right field after the first inning.

Jackie Robinson broke the major league color barrier in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers, who moved to Los Angeles after the 1957 season.

Credit: AP
FILE - From left, Brooklyn Dodgers third baseman John Jorgensen, shortstop Pee Wee Reese, second baseman Ed Stanky, and first baseman Jackie Robinson pose before a baseball game against the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, N.Y., April 15, 1947. Already at the forefront on the 75th anniversary of breaking baseball’s color barrier, Jackie Robinson’s life, legacy and impact is honored as part of the 2022 baseball All-Star Game in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Harry Harris, File)

The two met at UCLA, where Rachel was studying nursing. After taking time off to raise the couple's three children, she went on to earn a master's degree in psychiatric nursing at NYU. 

According to her Jackie Robinson Foundation, Rachel became the director of nursing for a Connecticut mental health center in New Haven and an assistant professor at the Yale University School of Nursing. 

Rachel Robinson is known for her advocacy against housing discrimination. According to the Los Angeles Times, she kept working in nursing until Jackie Robinson’s death in 1972. She later founded a construction company that built affordable housing.

Credit: AP
FILE - A banner with a picture of Brooklyn Dodgers baseball player Jackie Robinson is displayed at the Museum of City of New York, Jan. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Major League Baseball held a discussion of Jackie Robinson's life on Monday.

He died in 1972 and his No. 42 was retired throughout the major leagues in 1997. There is a statue honoring the Hall of Famer outside Dodger Stadium.

Actor Denzel Washington wore a No. 42 jersey when he spoke to the crowd during the pregame ceremonies.

"He said that life is not a spectator sport and he lived that motto to the fullest, whether it was charging down the baselines or standing tall for opportunity and justice," Washington said.

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