We saw 42 last week the Jackie Robinson story. It brought me back to the days when my dad took me to see the St. Paul Saints at Lexington ballpark. My Dad was a huge baseball fan and followed the sport very closely. The Saints and also Montreal were the Brooklyn Dodgers Triple A farm teams. Robinson played briefly for Montreal before being brought up by manager Branch Rickey to the Dodgers where he was the first black American to plays in the “majors.” I followed the Brooklyn team as well for many players on the Saints team were eventually promoted to the Dodgers. In those days the world series was a really big deal and we were allowed to listen to the games in our elementary classrooms.
Jackie Robinson in baseball and Doak Walker, a college football All American, were my sports heroes. Pro football had not yet become Americas favorite game. It would eventually replace baseball, which then was regarded as our national pastime. I remain loyal to baseball to the present day and have little or no interest in any other professional sports.
42 was a great movie which brings to forefront the courageous struggle Robinson had against the bigotry and overt racism of his time. Dodger General Manager Branch Ricky (played by Harrison Ford) sought and young college graduate and star athlete to break the color barrier. Jackie Robinson proved to fit the bill. That is strong enough to not fight back against the abuse and yet able to prove by his skill that he belonged. For younger generations, the portrayal of some of that abuse in the film will probably seem quite shocking. For others of us it will be sadly remindful of the racism we probably saw and heard in growing up.