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Mets unwrap plans for Robinson tribute

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Some 160 feet in diameter and 70 feet tall, the rotunda was designed as a tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers' Ebbets Field. It will boast a terrazzo floor inscribed with images and words of the nine virtues Robinson lived by, as articulated by his daughter Sharon Robinson: courage, excellence, persistence, justice, teamwork, commitment, citizenship, determination and integrity."Dad didn't write them down, but he lived these values," Sharon Robinson said.The rotunda will also feature an 8-foot-tall sculpture of the number 42, which Robinson wore during his Major League Baseball career. It was officially retired from all MLB teams in 1997, except for the New York Yankees.Robinson's widow, Rachel Robinson, said she and the Jackie Robinson Foundation spent a long time consulting with the Mets on the layout of the rotunda."I'm filled with mixed emotions," she said, noting her husband, who died in 1972, was a humble man. Still, she said he would have been thrilled to see his example live on."This rotunda is spectacular," she said. "At my stage of life, you're looking for permanence."She said she hoped the rotunda would make fans reflect on the kind of difference they have made in the world."There's much work to be done, and we need to get people to do that work," she said.Mets co-owner Fred Wilpon said he had to ask a few questions to get to the bottom of what the rotunda at Ebbets Field looked like."I called my old friend Sandy Koufax and asked him what the floor was like," Wilpon said. "He said, 'Dirty.' "The floor of Citi Field will remain dirty for some time more as well. Excavators were still working inside the rotunda when the Robinsons and Mets brass stopped in to take a look. Citi Field is expected to open for the 2009 baseball season. Wilpon said construction work on the stadium is on schedule.Jackie Robinson may have been a Brooklyn Dodger, but the Mets pointed out their own claims to historic baseball firsts. General Manager Omar Minaya is the first Hispanic general manager in the major leagues, while Manager Willie Randolph is the first African-American Major League team manager in New York."It's just an honor to be part of anything involving Jackie," Randolph said. "I grew up idolizing him."Robinson's legacy will be well attended in the next several years. Rachel Robinson said an ESPN film is in the works and the foundation has reached the halfway mark in raising $25 million for a Jackie Robinson museum in TriBeCa.Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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