Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 173: A Movie Review: 42

It's no secret, I love me a good baseball movie. I have my favorites, and now have another one to add to the list—"42." I'll just say this... even if you're not a baseball fan and you feel like it's almost more torturous than watching paint dry, you must see this movie. (When I underline and bold something, you know I mean business!) The number 42 is synonymous across baseball with courage, bravery and determination.

The movie is the story of Jackie Robinson. In 1947, after approximately 60 years of segregation, he broke the color barrier in major league baseball and left the Negro league for the bright lights of Brooklyn and a Dodgers' uniform. Robinson overcame more obstacles than probably any other player and paved the way for men of all races to play professional baseball. To honor what he did for the sport, on April 15, 1997, Major League Baseball retired Robinson's #42, throughout the entire league—the first time any number had been retired across an entire sport.

IMDb synopsis of the movie:
In 1946, Jackie Robinson is a Negro League baseball player who never takes racism lying down. Branch Rickey is a Major League team executive with a bold idea. To that end, Rickey recruits Robinson to break the unspoken color line as the first modern African American Major League player. As both anticipate, this proves a major challenge for Robinson and his family as they endure unrelenting racist hostility on and off the field, from player and fan alike. As Jackie struggles against his nature to endure such abuse without complaint, he finds allies and hope where he least expects it.
Jackie Robinson played just 10 years in the majors, but made every second count. He was Rookie of the Year in 1947 and won the MVP in 1949. He played in six World Series and won in 1955 with the Dodgers. He was a six-time All-Star from 1949 to 1954. For a man that was persecuted and mistreated, and at times bullied, he did well to put it all aside and just play ball. And he played great ball.

My hat goes off to Branch Rickey for seeing a special baseball player and human being in Jackie, and for changing the face of baseball for generations. In this day and age, it's so difficult to watch how he was treated, not only by some of his teammates, but by fans, opposing players and even managers. Imagine if there were still Ben Chapmans in the game...

See the movie. Trust me.

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