04/15/09 6:01 PM ET
Diamondbacks pay tribute to Jackie
Team wears No. 42, honors outstanding area youngsters
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
"Anything that helps to bring awareness to an unbelievable man and a tremendous baseball player, I am thankful for the opportunity to participate," first baseman Tony Clark said.
During the ceremonies, the D-backs awarded this year's Arizona Diamondbacks Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award to John Young. A former player and scout, Young is the founder of MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program.
Young developed RBI to provide disadvantaged youth an opportunity to enjoy, as well as learn the game of baseball. The D-backs have a strong connection to the program, as it was launched with the help of Roland Hemond and Mike Sgobba, both of whom currently work for the organization.
Young threw out the first pitch, which was caught by Clark.
Jackie Robinson Foundation scholar Ashly Burch of Glendale, Ariz., was recognized during the ceremony. Burch is in her first year at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and her scholarship is funded by the D-backs through the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Javone Craig, Sellam Meskel, Kandyce Miller and Blaine Rutledge of the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix and Precious Wilson and Kevin Martinez of the Boys and Girls Club of the East Valley were recognized as Boys and Girls Club's Youth of the Year. Each honoree was selected by their individual branch based upon exemplary contributions to the community, school, family and local Club.
Rutledge was chosen to sing the national anthem.
For the players, the day gave them a chance to don the historic No. 42 jersey.
"It's an honor," outfielder Chris Young said. "It's something that has a lot of meaning to it. You understand when you put that jersey on, you understand what that number represents. He ended up making a huge impact for guys like me. As you wear it, you definitely need to understand what the meaning is behind it."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.