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Robinson Day is 'awesome' to Hunter

Robinson Day is 'awesome' to Hunter

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SEATTLE -- Torii Hunter said he loved the "look and feel of No. 42." The Angels' center fielder was fully in the spirit of Jackie Robinson Day, from his old-school pants, showing red socks almost to the kneecaps, to his conversation with home-plate umpire Wally Bell before the game on Wednesday night at Safeco Field.

"I told Wally that I was going to steal home in Jackie's honor," Hunter said, grinning. "He told me if I did that, he'd call me safe no matter what.

"I decided not to test him on that. But I did steal third, so that's the next best thing."

Jackie Robinson Complete Coverage

That came in the top of the seventh inning, the Angels only two runs down and threatening. Hunter, who'd lashed a two-run homer in the fifth to get the Angels started, doubled leading off the inning and was off and running when Kendry Morales struck out, reaching first on a passed ball.

Hunter scored on Juan Rivera's single, but that was the end of the Angels' offense for the night.

A seven-run seventh inning by the other club's collection of No. 42s, featuring Ichiro Suzuki's grand slam, dashed any Angels hopes, extending to six games the Mariners' winning streak.

But the extraordinary nature of the occasion, the anniversary of Robinson's barrier-crashing Dodgers debut, was not lost on Hunter, who appreciates the rich history of the game as few peers do.

"It's a special day," Hunter said. "Looking down at my shoes, at my jersey, my pants ... this was no ordinary day. Jackie Robinson Day is awesome.

"Even people who don't know about the game know about Jackie Robinson, what he did and what it meant. Kids in school today were writing stories about him.

"I was playing around earlier in the dugout, running like Jackie Robinson -- short arms, quick feet, the whole thing -- in the hallway. I was just having some fun with it."

Hunter had to admit he didn't enjoy the game quite as much as his old friend Ken Griffey Jr., who launched his 400th home run as a Mariner and No. 613 of his illustrious career.

"Griffey hit that home run, I hit one myself, Ichiro ... some awesome things were going on," Hunter said. "Griffey and I do some of the same things in the community, and we spoke about a lot of things.

"This is one of those days you like to share with good people. It's about all you can ask out of life."

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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