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04/01/2004  6:35 PM ET
Studdard to perform National Anthem for Jackie Robinson Day at Shea Stadium
American Idol winner to participate in ceremony honoring Robinson's legacy
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Ruben Studdard, the 2003 American Idol winner and multi-platinum selling J Records recording artist, will perform the U.S. National Anthem as part of pre-game ceremonies for Jackie Robinson Day, April 15 at Shea Stadium. Studdard's performance will take place prior to the game between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves, which will be broadcast live by MLB national broadcast partner TBS.

All Major League Baseball games played on April 15 in the United States will include celebrations honoring Robinson, who in 1947 became the first player in modern baseball history to break the Major League color barrier.

Studdard, who was nicknamed the Velvet Teddy Bear' by legendary diva Gladys Knight, won the hearts of American Idol fans throughout the country with his onstage warmth and show-stopping vocal skills. Studdard captured more than 24 million votes throughout his six months on American Idol and was crowned the winner on May 21, 2003. Since the conclusion of the 2003 American Idol season, Studdard's J Records release, Soulful, debuted at number one on Billboard's Top 200 Chart and has sold more than 1.5 million units in the U.S., remaining in the top 10 for more than nine weeks since its December 2003 release. The album features the top 10 hit single "Sorry 2004," and the Grammy nominated song "Superstar." Studdard, joined by R&B performers Calvin Richardson (Hollywood Records) and Kem (Motown), is currently on an extensive U.S. tour covering 20 cities across the country before finishing in New Orleans on May 9.

Earlier this year, it was announced that April 15 will be designated "Jackie Robinson Day" at all ballparks hosting games on that date each season. As part of Jackie Robinson Day 2004, special pre-game ceremonies are being planned at each ballpark, with the national celebration being staged at Shea Stadium. Jackie Robinson Day is one of the first programs to result from The Commissioner's Initiative: Major League Baseball in the 21st Century, which was formed last year and charged with examining the current state of the game and determining ways to improve it for the fans.

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