Published on May 20th, 2013 @ 08:29:00 pm , using 564 words
I saw the very good '42', the new film about the first year of Jackie Robinson's major league life. Harrison Ford does a good job with Branch Rickey and the young guy who plays Robinson is fine. The story is told and it is a harrowing one, and it is told without much sentimentality. That is good. Robinson suffered the extreme racism of those times and the film captures that. There is a scene early in the film in which in JR's first year ('47), in a game in Philadelphia, when the Phillies manager (Chapman) stands in front of the dugout and yells 'nigger, nigger, go back where you came from, etc' and then we see a despairing and angry Jackie in the tunnel back to the lockers banging his bat against a wall. Rickey chose Jackie because he thought he would be a great player (which he was) but also because he wanted a mild force to handle the awful prejudice that would come with the first black player in the major leagues. Jackie had been a star player at UCLA (my alma mater) and knew life freed from extreme racism in L.A. The film is full of great emotional possibilities, and the relationship between Rachel his wife and Jackie is well done. This was a ceremonial link to the possible links with a future American scene that was at least race-neutral, as several great black athletes came into the major leagues. Jackie Robinson is a man for all to behold, in his insistence and his capacities as an athlete. He ended a ten year career with a lifetime average of .311, several all-star occasions, as well as World Series triumphs. He is a member of Baseball's Hall of Fame.
Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was an American baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball (ML in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base on April 15, 1947. As the first major league team to play a black man since the 1880s, the Dodgers ended racial segregation that had relegated black players to the Negro leagues for six decades. The example of Robinson's character and unquestionable talent challenged the traditional basis of segregation, which then marked many other aspects of American life, and contributed significantly to the Civil Rights Movement.
In addition to his cultural impact, Robinson had an exceptional baseball career. Over ten seasons, Robinson played in sixWorld Series and contributed to the Dodgers' 1955 World Championship. He was selected for six consecutive All-Star Games, from 1949 to 1954, was the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, and won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949—the first black player so honored. Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. In 1997, Major League Baseball "universally" retired his uniform number, 42, across all major league teams; he was the first pro athlete in any sport to be so honored. Initiated for the first time on April 15, 2004, Major League Baseball has adopted a new annual tradition, "Jackie Robinson Day", on which every player on every team wears #42.
Robinson was also known for his pursuits outside the baseball diamond. He was the first black television analyst in MLB, and the first black vice-president of a major American corporation. In the 1960s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank, an African-American-owned financial institution based in Harlem, New York. In recognition of his achievements on and off the field, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.