’42’ is a Grand Slam [VIDEO]
I saw ’42’ over the weekend, along with millions of other people, and the movie is powerful. It’s a linear retelling of events that led to the first black man to play in whites only baseball.
Here were my Favorite things about the movie.
Watching Jackie Robinson be brought back to life.
This man was a sublime athlete. We are lucky that so many of his games were filmed, because it’s obvious from the way he moves that he was a great player. Chadwick Boseman (Jackie Robinson) really captures the little moves Jackie would make when leading off first, and the lunge he’d make when stealing a base. It’s evident that Robinson was a great choice to be the first black man to play white baseball.
Played wonderfully by Harrison Ford, Branch Rickey is the real catalyst of this story. Were it not for him, who knows when the game would have been integrated. It wasn’t because Jackie was so good that he made it to the show. It was because Branch Rickey believed in the cause and was fearless in making it happen.
Seeing people change
Some didn’t, that’s for sure, but many who thought they couldn’t stomach a black man playing in whites only sport changed pretty quickly. This goes for his teammates, men in the Dodgers front office, people in the stands and people throughout America.
He couldn’t fight back. He became the most beaned man in baseball. He was called names, threatened, yelled at, turned away and abused, but he wasn’t allowed to do anything but play baseball. Well, he could have, but as his guide Branch Rickey told him, if he did fight back, it wouldn’t be understood that he was standing up for himself the way anyone in his position would. Jackie would be the bad guy, so the only solution was to beat them on the field. Which he did, winning Rookie of the Year, All Star distinctions, a World Series ring, and eventually, a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.