John Lewis ‘honored and blessed’ to throw out first pitch

April 15, 2018 GMT

Congressman John Lewis of Georgia threw out the first pitch Sunday as part of Jackie Robinson Day/Black Heritage Day at Nationals Park.

Major league teams around the country honored Robinson on Sunday on the anniversary of the legend breaking the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.

“I feel honored and blessed. He did so much to change America,” Lewis told The Washington Times after throwing out the first pitch on a cloudy, chilly afternoon. “The South and America is a better place because of him.”

Lewis noted that Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia, before he moved to California with his family at an early age. Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman caught the first pitch from Lewis, who stood on the infield grass a few feet from home plate.

DC Washington, a fixture at Nationals Park, performed the national anthem before the game.

The color guard was presented by the Howard University AFROTC Detachment 130.

The game ball delivery was performed by Lieutenant General Leslie C. Smith, The inspector general of the United States Army.

Dr. Lamont Gordon, the Jackie Robinson Foundation VP, cried “play ball” before the Nationals hosted the Colorado Rockies in the finale of a four-game series.

Fans who braved the chilly, rainy day were treated to a home run blast in the bottom of the first inning by Bryce Harper of the Nationals. It was his seventh homer of the season and came on the first pitch from Rockies hurler Tyler Anderson.

Harper leads the majors in homers.