Baseball History: The Movie "42" and the Annual Jackie Robinson Day

Baseball pennant of the Brooklyn Dodgers - "Dem Bums", shown by the clown tramp.
Baseball pennant of the Brooklyn Dodgers - "Dem Bums", shown by the clown tramp. | Source

Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand, just watching what goes on, in my opinion you're wasting your life.

-- Jackie Robinson

During a superhuman 10-year career 1947 - 1957, Jackie Robinson led the Brooklyn Dodgers to 6 National League titles and one World Series win.
During a superhuman 10-year career 1947 - 1957, Jackie Robinson led the Brooklyn Dodgers to 6 National League titles and one World Series win. | Source

The Robinson Legacy

Jackie Robinson was born the youngest of five siblings in 1919 and his father left shortly thereafter. His mom raised five kids alone and those children accomplished many goals for themselves.

Jackie's older brother Matthew was on the US Olympic Track and Field Team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He won the Silver Medal behind Jesse Owens' Gold, which is now on display at The Ohio State University. Not enough is taught about our great athletes of the past.

Jackie not only played four different sports well in high school and college, he lettered in all four - basketball, football, baseball, and track. He went to college and met his future wife there, where she was a nursing student. At this writing, she is 90 years old and proud of the film 42 and Jackie's life story, which was first filmed in 1950 with himself in the lead role.

Not only did this man raised in a poor single-parent family graduate from high school, attend college, and letter in four sports, and fight segregation in the US Army, but he also changed baseball in so many strong ways that his is the only jersey number in the game to be retired. He acomplished all these things while standing up to segregation and bullying alone and with the help of his family and baseball Hall of Famers such as Pee Wee Reese and Branch Rickey, among others.

Now, on Jackie Robinson Day, commemorating his first appearance at Ebbetts Field, south of Park Slope, with the Brooklyn Dodgers, everyone in a uniform on a Major League Baseball Field that day wears the number 42.

Below is video footage of Robinson during one of his famous steals of home base, this one helping to win the 1955 World Series for the Dodgers.

Jackie Robinson Steals Home In the 1955 World Series

America's Pastime Is Back

The biopic 42 is one of the best films of 2013. It is entertaining and historically accurate, except for some added dramatized dialogue, uplifting, and strong. Watching this film spurred me to plan to attend some baseball games this year. It brought back my love of the game as much as Branch Rickey told Jackie Robinson he did for him (Rickey).

The film is rated PG-13 for themes and language, but younger kids can watch 42 with some parental input. The night I saw the film, a full Little League team attended in uniform with their coaches and a couple of parents in tow. The kids asked questions as they enjoyed the fun parts of the film. coming away with a greater understanding of Jackie Robinson's accomplishments for baseball, family, and equality.

The diverse audience that night was vocal in its appreciation of the film and baseball history. Afteer the closing credits, people did not want to leave the theater. They stood in the lobby, talking among themselves in groups and discussing the film with studio reps.


A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.

-- Jackie Robinson

The Stars Of the Film

Star Chadwick Boseman looks so much like the young Jack Robinson, especially from a certain angle, that it's eerie. My favorite scenes are those where he's preparing to steal bases, skittering back and forth just beyond his base and annoying the pitcher. I never saw Branch Rickey, but I felt that I got to know him through Harrison Ford's character portrayal. Ford looked like he had a good time with the part.

Many of the audience on the night I was fortunate to see this film were enchanted by the parts taken by Harrison Ford, Andre Holland, Nicole Beharie, Max Gail, T.R. Knight, Chris Meloni. -- And consider screwball Texan Alan Tudyk - he's lucky someone doesn't smack him on the street, mistaking him for the real Phillies' bigotted manager Ben Chapman!

The first I saw of Tudyk was in 2007's Death At a Funeral. He was the nude dancing on the roof during a wake, high on designer drugs he accidentally ingested. He was the funniest thing I'd seen in decades. In 42, he's the most bigotted. In TV's Suburgatory, he is one of the most silly. He certainly has an acting range.

Jackie Robinson Day 4/15 has new meaning after seeing this film.

Jackie, we've got no army. There's virtually nobody on our side. No owners, no umpires, very few newspapermen. And I'm afraid that many fans will be hostile. We'll be in a tough position. We can win only if we can convince the world that I'm doing this because you're a great ballplayer, a fine gentleman.

-- Branch Rickey

Congressional Gold Medal

Mrs. Rachel Robinson accepts the Congressional Gold Medal for husband Jackie Robinson (1919 - 1972). (From left to right: Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, former President George W. Bush, Rachel Robinson, Congressman Dennis Hastert.)
Mrs. Rachel Robinson accepts the Congressional Gold Medal for husband Jackie Robinson (1919 - 1972). (From left to right: Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, former President George W. Bush, Rachel Robinson, Congressman Dennis Hastert.) | Source
The Brooklyn Dodgers
The Brooklyn Dodgers | Source

Jackie Robinson Day Celebrated BIG at Wrigley Field

A fitting tribute to a ball player who deserves to be remembered:

Jackie Robinson Day Celebrated BIG at Wrigley Field in 2013 to Highlight Film Biography "42"

  • 42: The True Story of An American Legend was released to the public in American theaters on April 12, 2013 to large crowds of baseball and history fans. However, the Chicago Cubs wanted to do something spectacular to honor Jackie Robinson and his history. At the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson first day in the majors, the Cubs all wore number 42 as did many other teams in MLB. Even better, the film cast of 42 was present for the first pitch of the game and the Seventh Inning Stretch. It was a great time and an appropriate, fun tribute to a great ballplayer that broke the color line with help from those inside the major leagues that had faith in him.

A Mini Bio Of Jackie Robinson

He was the only player I ever saw in a rundown who could be safe more often than out. He ran as if his head was on a swizzle, back and forth, back and forth, until he could get out of it.

-- Bobby Bragan

On the Ed Sullivan Show

Source

Song "Mr. Robinson"

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Comments 7 comments

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

I just saw the film, '42,' Patty, which I recommend to everyone of every age - Jackie Robinson was special! Your hub is an excellent, informative tribute to a great man and a great sports legend.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 3 years ago from Minnesota

Hi Patty~my nephew just saw this movie last night. My nephew is fifteen and he said he loved it. He did say there were certain parts of the movie where he didn't know if he should laugh or not. I'm guessing it was racial jokes or something but not sure. Jackie Robinson was one of the best role-models baseball has ever had. Great hub. I hit many buttons and voted up.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

drbj - That is exactly how I feel about the film, Doc! Thanks for your gracious praise of the Hub. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet him.

Minnetonka Twin - I am happy your nephew loved it. this is one DVD I am going to buy, because I must see it several more times, it's such a good story.

I know how your nephew felt about laughing at some scnees, because I felt the same. Sometimes I could not stop a laugh. You should see & hear the diatribe Alan Tudyk did as coach Ben Chapman in order to make Jackie miss a hit - THAT was funny in one way, because the character is goofy in trying to excuse racism; but he used the N word about 30 times in a row and a few other words. Jackie did not like that at all, but in other racial situations Robinson either ignored it, became a bit angry -- or grinned, which made the audience laugh.

Thanks for visiting and rating the Hub Up and a few more. I enjoyed writing it very much. I used to follow baseball and I think I will start again.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 3 years ago

Nice job on a wonderful movie. I just did a review also. Yours is better!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

Thanks very much Ralph - I appreciate your opinion!


phoenix2327 profile image

phoenix2327 3 years ago from United Kingdom

I'm hoping this film will be released here. I like the casting very much and I've heard so many good things about the movie.


Nashoof 3 years ago

I must just say what a joy to uncover somoebdy that truly understands what they're discussing online. You actually know how to bring something to sight and make it important.

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