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Troy

42 - The True Story of an American Legend (Jackie Robinson)

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42

In Theaters: Apr 12, 2013 Wide

Unrated,
Drama
Directed By: Brian Helgeland
Written By: Brian Helgeland
Warner Bros. Pictures

Hero is a word we hear often in sports, but heroism is not always about achievements on the field of play. "42" tells the story of two men-the great Jackie Robinson and legendary Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey-whose brave stand against prejudice forever changed the world by changing the game of baseball. In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) put himself at the forefront of history when he signed Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the team, breaking Major League Baseball's infamous color line. But the deal also put both Robinson and Rickey in the firing line of the public, the press and even other players. Facing unabashed racism from every side, Robinson was forced to demonstrate tremendous courage and restraint by not reacting in kind, knowing that any incident could destroy his and Rickey's hopes. Instead, Number 42 let his talent on the field do the talking-ultimately winning over fans and his teammates, silencing his critics, and paving the way for others to follow. (copyright WB)

 

42-poster-jackie-robinson.jpg

 

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I remember quite well, when Jackie Robinson broke into major league baseball, back before the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to  LA. This historic event really created excitement in the black community during those days when we were more into baseball than basketball.  

 

On one of the Dodgers' visits to play the Chicago Cubs, my parents took me to Wrigley Field and I got a chance to see the legendary Robinson. I was 13 years old, and I don't remember the  outcome of the game but I do recall really being thrilled to see Jackie in action, especially the way he would taunt the opposing team. He was a good hitter and when he got on base, he would crouch down and jump up and down, making pitchers so anxious to catch him off base that they would throw the ball wildly and Robinson would be able to steal a base. The same way with the infielders; they couldn't  concentrate on the other runners because they were so distracted by Robinson that they would make errors allowing him to advance and often slide home safe. 

 

The stands would be full of black fans cheering Robinson on while getting a big kick out of what fools he made of the opposing players. And all the white hecklers making liberal use of the word "nigger" could do,  was react with red-faced frustration.  It was quite an era in sports as one-by-one each team acquired a token black player, all of whom were great athletes who went on to make names for themselves, eventually acquiring the begrudging respect of their white teammates. 

 

Now, you can count on one hand the number of home grown black players in major league baseball.  All the ones of color are Hispanics from other countries. It's unfortunate that black athletes have abandoned the "great American passtime".

 

Jackie Robinson was a trail blazer on a level with Joe Louis and was  a man of great character who really made his race proud!

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Nice retrospective Cynique. 

 

I can't even image a stand full of white folks yelling the word nigger now.  How did Black folks react hearing the word.  How did you feel? 

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Actually, the stands were not full of people howling  "nigger" at Wrigley Field.  Just  like today, drunken loud mouths yelled out cat-calls at sports events.  And back then they, like black fans, were scattered throughout the thousands of people in attendance, so these things were just kind of shrugged off.  My reaction was to roll my eyes  at the name-callers.  I was having fun, but they were obviously not. 

 

From all reports, the opposing benches were brutal in their attacks on Robinson,  and Pee Wee Reese, the great Dodger Shortstop was one of the few of Robinson's white teammates who stood by him. 

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Sometimes when you looks at these films you assume the entire stadium was full or rabid racists, foaming at the mouth throwing batteries at Robinson.  So you are saying the vast majority of fans, in the stands, were respectful of Robinson?

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You know, Troy, I can't speak for all the stadiums but "respect" isn't exactly the word I'd use to describe the white fans at Wrigley Field.  It was more like a begrudging tolerance.  The alternative was to act up so bad that a riot would ensue and rather than create that problem, most people just went along with things, preserving an uneasy truce.  My family members were actually white Sox fans. We just went to see Robinson play because he was black.   

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"We just went to see Robinson play because he was black." :D

 

Considering that statement, in 2013, is so anachronistic it is funny. Indeed it is a sign of progress.

 

Perhaps one day, saying, "I voted for Obama because he was Black" will sound just as anachronistic.

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Do you really think that's an anachronism, Troy??  It was a "given" that Robinson was a great player who was very courageous so it wasn't a case of blind admiration for him. A whole lot of black people who weren't particularly baseball fans went to see Robinson because they took pride in him. Obama is very comparable to him.

 

Today  there are a multitude of black people who, when given a choice between 2 capable individuals,  will forego other considerations and go with the black person out of loyalty to their own kind, so this practice is not an anacronism.  It's not like Blacks don't still have to strive for recognition and need support.   

 

Surely you don't think that color blindness now exists - as much as you'd like for it to. 

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I was not clear Cynique.  I meant, if someone was to say, in 2013, that I'm going to a baseball game to see a Black player, because he was Black would sound anachronistic, obviously becaseu there are so many Black players today.  I did not neam to suggest that is was anchronistics back in when Robinson started playing.

 

That is why I drew the analogy with Obama.  Hoping one day, in the future, it would sound just as odd to say I'm going to vote for a president because of his so called race.

 

That said, I was going to use an African American baseball player to use as an example to clarify my point and write something like; It would be as anachronistic as saying, "I'm going to see Marlon Byrd because he is Black", Then I realized he was the only African American player in Chicago last season :o

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