SAN FRANCISCO -- The greatness of Jackie Robinson and the aura of the Giants-Dodgers rivalry intersected nicely Tuesday night at AT&T Park.
The Giants concluded their observance of Jackie Robinson Day with a unique touch: Public-address announcer Renel Brooks-Moon, speaking from a podium set up behind home plate, read a message from Monte Irvin, the Hall of Fame outfielder who competed against Robinson when their clubs occupied New York and Brooklyn.
Irvin expressed regret that, at age 95, he couldn't be present to participate in the pregame celebration of the man who broke baseball's color line 67 years ago. But Irvin made his presence felt as Brooks-Moon relayed his sentiments.
Irvin, who formed baseball's first all-black outfield with Willie Mays and Hank Thompson in 1951, said that "I cannot think of a better role model" to bring about the "monumental shift in baseball."
Irvin added, "He led by example and this beautiful game of baseball became a force of good at a very challenging time. ... I love that the Giants are playing the Dodgers tonight -- the best rivalry in sports. Enjoy the game you have the privilege to play. Please keep Jackie Robinson's legacy alive by respecting the game and respecting each other."
Following the day's custom, players, coaches and managers for both teams wore Robinson's No. 42. That famed number was etched in the infield dirt behind second base, Robinson's primary position during his Hall of Fame career.
As they would on Opening Day, players stood on the foul lines during pregame festivities. In a nice touch, broadcasters Jon Miller of San Francisco and Vin Scully of Los Angeles introduced their respective teams' starters alternately. Scully may have established a new standard by prompting perhaps the loudest cheering ever bestowed upon a Dodger by a partisan Giants crowd.
Earlier, Giants left-hander David Huff expressed his appreciation for Robinson's legacy. Huff attended UCLA, where Robinson distinguished himself as a four-sport standout as a collegian.
"He went through so much hardship and adversity [with] everybody going against him," Huff said. "To go through that opened a lot of eyes and a lot of opportunities for not only himself but also for other players. You see the documentaries. They're so heartfelt. He'll always be one of the greatest. To put on No. 42 is a big deal to me."
Said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, "Every year we honor Jackie Robinson, as we should. No one impacted baseball and society as Jackie Robinson did. Everybody reveres and respects this man for what he did."