CINCINNATI -- Jackie Robinson Day was celebrated in the Major Leagues on Tuesday, prompting Joe Maddon to address the occasion. Due to a rainout, the Rays will don the iconic No. 42 this afternoon against the Orioles.
Already drawn to the story and the courage Robinson displayed while breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier, the Rays manager grew even more connected to those events in recent years after reading Lee Lowenfish's "Branch Rickey: Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman".
"Every year you're reminded on Jackie Robinson Day about who he was and what he did," Maddon said. "And it's kind of like a holiday within the baseball season. It's kind of like a Christmas, an Easter, whatever, for me. It's a baseball holiday that you get to remember this particular moment and how significant it is to this game and to our society as a whole.
"I'm just hoping that it's never lost on anybody. I know it's not lost on me. I know the recent movie helped to get the message out there a little bit more. But that's one of those things that needs to be revisited, and we do that on an annual basis."
Mostly, Maddon said that Jackie Robinson Day reminds him of the word "courage."
"If you have a little fear in your body at all, just think about what this guy did," Maddon said. "And sometimes that can help get rid of those fears. Because it was pretty tough what he did. A lot of the things we do on a daily basis don't come close to that."
Reds manager Price once played for Maddon
CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Bryan Price played for Rays manager Joe Maddon in the Minor Leagues when Maddon managed at Double-A Midland of the Texas League.
Price, a left-handed pitcher, recalled playing for Maddon.
"It was great," Price said. "My first full season of professional baseball, I started in Midland playing for Joe. And I got absolutely obliterated in the Texas League and worked my way back to the California League.
"I don't think his memories of me are as good as mine were of him. Unfortunately, it was usually seeing him around the third or fourth inning when it was his second and last visit to the mound to come get me. I didn't pitch terribly well that first year for Joe."
Price added that "Joe is a wonderful guy to play for and a terrific person."
"He's very similar now to what I remember playing for 30 years ago," Price said.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.