For a moment Tuesday, Bud Selig looked dumbstruck with joy.
"I don't often have a hard time articulating my thoughts," he later told reporters.
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On this occasion, on the last Jackie Robinson Day of his career as MLB commissioner, he briefly did.
Jackie Robinson's daughter, Sharon Robinson, presented Selig with a No. 42 plaque at the MLB diversity business summit in the grand ballroom of Manhattan Center.
"I am here because I love this commissioner and because my mother has such great respect for what he's done for our family," Robinson said. "On a personal note, I feel really blessed with working with him for 18 years."
In 1997, under Selig's direction, Robinson's uniform No. 42 was retired throughout the major leagues in an unprecedented tribute.
The legacy of Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier in 1947 and passed away at 53 in 1972, lives on yearly because of Selig. The 67th anniversary of the day Robinson played his first game for the Dodgers was celebrated Tuesday the same way it has been since 2004 -- when MLB, under Selig, adopted the Jackie Robinson Day tradition -- with all players, managers and coaches wearing the number.
When Selig, a noted baseball historian, was 13, he said, he saw Robinson's first game at Wrigley Field. At that point, he said, an impression on him was made.
He called receiving the plaque a great privilege.
"This means so much to me," Selig said. "When I think back when we retired his number and to honor this wonderful legacy, not only for what it meant for baseball, but more importantly what it meant to American society. This means a great deal. It will be displayed with honor and pride."
Selig, who turns 80 in July, plans to retire as commissioner in January 2015. His legacy, as the plaque he received indicates, will always be tied with preserving the memory of Robinson.
"This didn't exist," Selig said. "None of this existed. I mean it's sort of hard to believe that we really didn't honor Jackie Robinson, given the meaningfulness of everything. I don't even want to take a lot of credit. It was just the right thing to do."