Denzel Washington honours Jackie Robinson before All-Star baseball game

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Denzel Washington gave a speech honouring late baseball star Jackie Robinson at the start of the Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game on Tuesday night.

The Oscar-winning actor made a surprise appearance at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles to pay tribute to Robinson, the first African-American to play in the MLB in the modern era.

"Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, 1947," he began. "When Jackie Robinson stepped onto a Major League Baseball field for the first time, armed with supreme talent and unshakeable character and wearing a Dodgers uniform, he changed the game of baseball and so much more."

Washington went on to list Robinson's achievements both on and off the field and praised the sports star - who wore the uniform number 42 - for challenging people "to become better versions of ourselves".

"He said that life is not a spectator sport, and he lived that motto to the fullest," he continued. "Whether it was charging down the baselines or standing tall for opportunity and justice, number 42 blazed a trail that would light the way for people from every walk of life and every colour and to this very day, every generation, that inspiration, that profound impact, looms just as large today as it did 75 years ago."

Robinson, who passed away in 1972, made his MLB debut on 15 April 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers, which moved to LA in the late '50s and became the Los Angeles Dodgers, which are based at Dodger Stadium.

Washington's speech took place on the 100th birthday of Robinson's widow Rachel. Those controlling the late actor Chadwick Boseman's Twitter account shared pictures of the Black Panther star with Rachel on Tuesday and wrote, "Today, on her 100th birthday, we honor Rachel Robinson’s incredible accomplishments as a nurse, professor, wife, mother and humanitarian- including the wonderful work she’s done through the @JRFoundation. Happy birthday!"

Boseman portrayed Robinson in the 2013 sports drama 42.

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