For Thompson, the digits will allow him to remember weekend summer trips down Interstate 95.
Stopping in places from North Carolina to New York, Thompson's father, Wilbert Thompson, played on
barnstorming teams against Negro Leaguers.
Milt and his six siblings would watch and cheer, and hear the stories about a less fair time in
baseball. Even as recent as the late '70s, Thompson remembers when, as a rookie in the Appalachian
League, he inquired about an apartment in Kingsport, Tenn. He knocked on the door and left a message
with a neighbor when no one answered.
The next day the sign was gone, and Thompson ended up staying in a hotel for $10 a day.
"The bottom line is, when you talk about some of the players today, most don't know all the
information, and what Jackie went through," Thompson said. "It's important to remember."
Commissioner Bud Selig often says that the most significant moment in baseball history occurred
when Robinson broke the color barrier, because of the social impact it had on the country. The Phillies
are planning a special tribute.
The organization will salute African-American pioneers who opened doors for others. The four
living members of the Philadelphia Stars -- Bill Cash, Mahlon Duckett, Stanley Glenn and Harold Gould --
will be honored in a pregame ceremony. The Stars team played from 1934-50 and won the 1934 Negro
National League pennant.
The tribute also will include an appearance by the Tuskegee Airmen, who made history by enlisting to
become America's first black military airmen during World War II in 1941. Shorstop Jimmy Rollins will also take part in
"This is a great opportunity to honor a historic person," Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro
Jr. said. "We're proud to take part."
Amaro brings another perspective to Robinson's legacy. A player of Cuban decent, Amaro grew up
around the sport and heard stories of prejudice from his father, who played from 1958-69.
"There are many," Amaro said. "He had to go through a lot of things in the Minors. In the Texas
League, he couldn't eat at a lot of the restaurants or stay at some of the same hotels. As a Latin
American player who was very dark skinned, he had to go through those things, too. There are some of the
greatest Latin American players who didn't get a chance to play in the States."