Denzel Washington makes surprise appearance at MLB All-Star Game to honor Jackie Robinson
Lou Gehrig (or Gary Cooper) ain't got nothin' on him.
National treasure Denzel Washington donned Jackie Robinson's iconic No. 42 jersey and took to home plate at Dodgers Stadium, home to the MLB's All-Star Game for the first time in 40 years, to honor the trailblazing athlete.
With the reverb from his mic serving Pride of the Yankees realness, Washington kicked off the big game with his tribute to Robinson.
"Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, 1947," the Oscar-winner began, noting when Robinson broke baseball's color barrier with the then-Brooklyn Dodgers, 75 years ago. "When Jackie Robinson stepped onto a Major League Baseball field for the first time, armed with supreme talent and unshakable character and wearing a Dodgers uniform, he changed the game of baseball and so much more."
Washington went on to praise Robinson's activities both on the field and off, saying that he "challenged us to become better versions of ourselves."
"Business leader, family man, activist, Hall of Famer," the recent Presidential Medal of Honor recipient continued. "He said that life is not a spectator sport, and he lived that motto to the fullest. Number 42 blazed a trail that would light the way for people from every walk of life and every color and to this very day … that profound impact looms just as large today as it did 75 years ago."
Robinson integrated baseball on April 15, 1947 and since 2004 the MLB has celebrated Jackie Robinson Day on that date. Robinson was awarded the inaugural Rookie of the Year award in 1947 and inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. His No. 42 jersey was officially retired in 1997.
A significant figure in both sports and popular culture, Robinson has been portrayed various times in film, theater, and television. The second baseman played himself in 1950's The Jackie Robinson Story, and more recently, the late Chadwick Boseman portrayed him in 2013's 42.
Tuesday also marked the 100th birthday of Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson, and Dodgers star Mookie Betts led the crowd in a "Happy birthday" chant to the centenarian.