HOUSTON -- The Astros, on Friday, paid tribute to Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier 65 years ago. The team was on the road during Jackie Robinson Day, which was celebrated around baseball earlier this week.
Hall of Fame player Monte Irvin, 93, was introduced to the Minute Maid Park crowd prior to Friday's game after participating in a ceremony with Astros players Wesley Wright and Justin Maxwell, coaches Dave Clark and Bobby Meacham and former Astros star Jimmy Wynn.
Irvin, who was a close friend of Robinson, is pleased baseball still honors Robinson's legacy.
"Not only did he make it easier for players to play baseball, but for all the other sports as well," Irvin said. "We salute him, we knew what he went through and we'll always remember him as a great pioneer."
Irvin played with the New York Giants at the same time Robinson starred with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
"On the field we'd try to knock each other's brains out, but after the game we'd go somewhere and have a beer," he said. "He was a wonderful fella."
Maxwell is appreciative of the trail blazed by men like Robinson.
"We're all fortunate enough to play this game of baseball for a living and I pretty much thank him every day for what he went though," he said. "All we have to focus on is baseball. He had to focus not only on baseball, but protecting himself and all the distractions off the field. Hats off to him."