42 A Huge Hit – M.L.B. Celebrates Jackie Robinson Day April 15, 2013


If you haven’t seen the movie 42, put it on your “urgent” TO DO list as the movie is a must see!    Major League Baseball and people all over the world prepare to take part of Jackie Robinson Day.  The special day has been designated throughout the years on April 15, 2013.  Like so many, I plan on being at Chavez Ravine or Dodger Stadium to feel Jackie’s spirit in the cathedral of baseball.

Here is a clip where legendary Dodger announcer Vin Scully pays tribute to Jack Roosevelt Robinson.

jackie robinson day emblem

Another important feature of the 2013 Jackie Robinson Day in conjunction with the movie “42” is recognition of Wendell Smith.  It was he who chronicled the Negro Leagues in his role as reporter for the Pittsburgh Courier.  Branch Rickey needed someone who knew first-hand the players as well as scouting information as he attempted to select the person who would be the “first.”

The legendary Wendell Smith

The legendary Wendell Smith

Jackie Robinson Celebration 2012

Jackie Robinson Celebration 2011

Jackie Robinson Celebration 2010

Jackie Robinson Celebration 2009

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On Sunday, April 14, 2013 Meet the Press featured a special 13 minute segment on Jackie Robinson and the movie “42”

The segment featured historian Ken Burns and Mrs. Rachel RobinsonCLICK HERE

For trivia buffs, remember it was Vince Coleman who received the “I Forgot My History” award, as in 1997 on the 50th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson Day, he honestly proclaimed not knowing who Jackie Robinson was.    The fact that he wasn’t born during Jackie’s day is forgivable, the fact that he was a MLB player gets him a slap upside the head, but the fact as a young African-American player he would admit such ignorance is mind-boggling.

[postscript]  While the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s name is synonymous with the modern Civil Rights Movement, after watching “42” those with the most remedial understanding of history will awaken with a sense of reality.   Dr. King’s contributions cannot be minimized, however “42” is invaluable to the millions who were not born during the Civil Rights timeline or who may have been lulled to believe we are living in a post-racial society.  Robinson’s legacy will provide  you with a much better appreciation of how he used sports to effect the Jim Crow social order that was eventually stricken down by legal battles won by the NAACP, as well as King.   More interestingly, M.L.B. finds itself at a new crossroads, as Sixty-Six year’s following Robinson’s remarkable entry, it has commissioned a task force to deal with the ever present question of why Baseball has a sharp decline of African-American players.  I am reminded in 1997 or the 50th Year Anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s entry into M.L.B., as President of the local Little League and while mowing the outfield grass at our field, my phone rang and it was the Wall Street Journal.  I forget, who the person was, but their reason for calling was to get my comment on how on the 50th Anniversary, Robinson’s coveted organization; now the Los Angeles Dodgers did not have one African-American player on their twenty-five team roster!  That question is still perplexing.   Despite the obvious bone-head by the Dodgers, I must admit there have been positive strides and in 2013, as people are entertained by “42” and the reality of Ervin Johnson being a part of the Dodgers ownership, surely there will be renewed commitment to capture those from the African-American community who want to participate in America’s pastime.

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