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Yankees honor Robinson with plaque

Yankees unveil Robinson plaque

NEW YORK -- One of the most memorable moments of Jackie Robinson's career took place at Yankee Stadium, when, in Game 1 of the 1955 World Series, the barrier-breaking legend stole home plate under a desperate diving tag by catcher Yogi Berra.

To this day, the Yankees continue to tease Berra over the event, as the Hall of Fame backstop insists he put the tag down in time. Meanwhile, newsreel footage of Robinson's daring larceny and Berra's emotional protest has become a timeless classic.

Robinson's fearless accomplishments will now forever be honored in the Bronx.

On Tuesday, the Yankees unveiled a plaque honoring Robinson's achievements in breaking baseball's color barrier 60 years ago, recognizing the Dodgers Hall of Famer in a ceremony before the club's 10-3 defeat of the Cleveland Indians.

The permanent fixture was first uncovered in a late-afternoon photo opportunity by the Yankees' Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Joe Torre and Mariano Rivera, and stands alongside those of retired Yankees legends and others.

It reads: "In becoming the first player to break the color barrier, Jackie will forever be an inspiration with his grace, dignity and perseverance. His story and the stories of those who never had the same opportunity must never be forgotten."

Before Tuesday's game, the Yankees also presented a $1 million donation to Len Coleman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which provides four-year college scholarships and leadership development training to talented minority students.

The Yankees played Tuesday's game with Robinson's No. 42 painted near the baselines at Yankee Stadium after having honored Robinson on Sunday along with the rest of Major League Baseball.

Cano, Jeter and Torre wore Robinson's No. 42 for the club's game at Oakland, in addition to Rivera, who had been grandfathered in to continue wearing the number upon its universal retirement in April 1997.

As the last remaining player to use the number, the Panama-born Rivera said the No. 42 carries special meaning for him, emphasizing Robinson's impact to open the Major Leagues' doors to all players.

Certainly, a pinstriped No. 42 will one day join the Yankees' long list of retired numbers. Until that time, Rivera said he considers it a fitting tribute to continue donning No. 42 and keeping Robinson's number alive in Major League contests.

"To me, it's an honor," Rivera said recently. "And I do carry it with honor. I'm blessed."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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