Wilma and I took the afternoon to go see “42”.  I have always been nothing but a baseball fan, but I can tell you now that I am PROUD to be a baseball fan.  The movie may be a shade trite in some places, but the history lesson is an important one for all to learn.  It’s good for people like me to review and remember (I was born only 7 seasons after this all happened) and it is stupendously important that those who only remember 20 years of baseball to see where it was at one time.

The cast does not rely on ‘Hollywood’ names at all.  Harrison Ford plays Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey, but he’s the only real movie draw in the cast.  He plays the gruff and straightforward Mr.Rickey as real as I can imagine – He was a businessman, but also a realist who knew what he was getting into when he brought a Black man into 1940s baseball.

Some of the other cast members are familiar faces.    Christopher Meloni of LAW AND ORDER:SVI does a good job of playing manager Leo Durocher.  John C. McGinley, who we know as Dr.Cox from SCRUBS plays radio announcer Red Barber, complete with Barber’s clever phrases.   , Max Gail, better known to folks who watched TV in the 70s as WOJO on BARNEY MILLER plays the manager Bert Shotton who replaces Durocher.  J. R. Knight plays Mr. Rickey’s assistant Harold – Mr. Knight is of the GRAYS ANATOMY cast.

Others?  You can’t ignore the team of Chadwick Boseman and Nicole Beharie as Mr. and Mrs. Jackie Robinson…. A strong couple if there ever was one…. The various ballplayers are all names I know, but I wasn’t familiar with the actors… PeeWee Reese, Pete Reiser, Ralph Branca .. .all those old baseball names…

Like I said, there are some trite moments, some sappy musical tricks and some movie techniques that just don’t quite peak…. But hey, maybe that means we can latch onto the story better – to see the ugly side of what was happening for what passed as our racial atmosphere of the times…. There was a particularly ugly scene when the Philadelphia Phillies manager berates Jackie as he bats… all the racial slurs are there…all the phrases, the ugly imagery …. But in a way, I suspect that in truth, it was so much more worse than they revealed in this movie.  Perhaps the writers played this down some to make the scene more palatable for moms and dads as they WILL have to go home and explain such fun filled phrases as “porch monkey” and “tar baby” mean.  But I repeat, this story does need to be told, and even with the soft-pedalling of some of the hate.

This really happened folks – and we all need to remember that there were those who perpetrated the hatred, and there were those who were stronger that helped us get down the road of decent social behavior.