42 is the story of Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Bozeman) and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford). A deal or let’s say decision that put both Robinson and Rickey in the firing line of public opinion, the press, and fellow players during an era of racial segregation.
The movie begins with Rickey trying to find the “right” player to challenge the Major Leagues long standing color barrier. A player that’s “not too old and full of talent.” Jackie Robinson was Rickey’s choice. Gaining notoriety as a young up and coming talented Negro League shortstop, Robinson would become a part of history by being handpicked by Branch Rickey to join the Dodgers. And so begins his heroic journey of strength. As Harrison Ford’s character put it, “the strength not to fight back,” and courage; the courage not to act or respond to extreme intolerance. The movie does not hesitate to delve into America’s dark past of hatred and bigotry. But there were heartwarming moments, as in the scene when a stranger walks up to Robinson on the street to say “a man should be judged by his ability alone,” or the scene in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where Pittsburgh’s team manager is berating Robinson at every at bat and his teammate rushes to his defense, or a scene near the end of the film where a teammate who asks not to play in his hometown because of one threat he receives. When the teammate is told about the hundreds of threats Robinson receives, he changes his mind and goes as a far as embracing Robinson on the baseball field in front of thousands of angry fans. 42 is a moving tribute to two American Heroes. Number 42 let his talent do the talking on the field ultimately winning over fans and his teammates, silencing his critics, and paving the way for others to follow.
In addition to his impact on the cultural times, Robinson had an exceptional baseball career. Over ten seasons, Robinson played in six World Series and contributed to the Dodgers’ 1955 Championship. He was selected for six consecutive All Star Games, selected MLB Rookie of the Year in 1947, won the National League MVP in 1949—the first black player so honored. Jackie 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. And 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.
Wesley Branch Rickey was an innovative executive elected to the Baseball hall of Fame in 1967. He was known for signing Jackie Robinson and also for drafting the first Afro-Hispanic superstar, Roberto Clemente. Rickey created the framework for the modern minor league baseball farm system and for introducing the batting helmet.
The Brooklyn Dodgers were an American baseball team that was active from 1884 until 1957, after which it moved to Los Angeles, California, where it continued the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team’s name derived from the reputed skill of Brooklyn residents at evading the city’s trolley street cars.
Image reproduced from www.movies.yahoo.com
Trailer reproduced from YouTube / WarnerBrosPictures
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