"For everybody, Jackie Robinson was a man you could learn a lot from -- the way he stayed calm, cool, collected and dignified in the face of huge opposition," right fielder Randy Winn said.
Winn added that the way Robinson "conducted himself as a man" was matchless.
"I think if you ask a lot of people if they could have done what he did had they been in his situation, the answer is probably no," Winn said.
As a Brooklyn native, it was entirely fitting for first baseman Rich Aurilia to wear the number that Robinson made famous as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Though Aurilia is Caucasian, he recognized that Robinson's impact transcended racial boundaries.
"He changed the face of not only baseball but this country in general," Aurilia said. "It's sad if you don't realize that as a white player. You should know the history of what he meant to this game, what he meant to this country, what he meant to African-Americans."
Manager Bruce Bochy was effusive in his praise of Robinson, saying, "We're talking about one of the greatest Americans ever."
Bochy cited Robinson's enduring impact on the sport.
"We all know how much better the game is because everybody's allowed to play -- African-Americans, Latin Americans -- and it has become a global game," Bochy said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.