The official movie poster for the record-breaking 2013 film “42” displays Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) sliding into home. Robinson faced racism from his teammates, other teams and society.
Photos Courtesy of Legendary Pictures
The film “42” is a historical biographic drama about baseball legend Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) who played in Major League Baseball. The film, released in 2013, broke the record for the highest ticket sales on an opening weekend of a baseball movie, according to IMDb.
Only 7.8% of athletes, or 80 players, in the MLB were Black in 2020, according to USA Today. There were only three Black players in the MLB before Robinson, according to The Washington Post. Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, wanted to challenge that, so he signed Robinson in 1947.
The film “42” delivers the message that people should stand up for and support each other regardless of race or social class.
At first, most of Robinson’s teammates did not want to play with him. Dixie Walker (Ryan Merriman) creates a petition to ban Robinson from the field. The coach refuses and tells the other players who do not want to play with Robinson that he is the future of the MLB.
Rickey tells Walker that if he cannot stand playing with Robinson, he can leave the team. Rickey trades Walker to their rival team, the Philadelphia Phillies. Walker then realizes he should not have created the petition because he wants to stay with the Dodgers.
More people in the Black community start to watch Robinson train and pick up baseballs for him. Robinson, as he inspires more people to come to the field and watch him practice, opens up opportunities for Black athletes to play sports and pursue professional careers.
Ford gives an outstanding performance that depicts a businessman with a caring heart. Rickey is also a legend and mentor to Robinson. When Philadelphia’s coach Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk) insults Robinson on the field, Rickey shows his support for Robinson.
After Chapman hurls racist insults at Robinson, Robinson can hardly bear it and runs off the field. Rickey encourages Robinson by pointing out how he can help the team win and inspire others even off the field. Rickey says to Robinson, “We need you, everybody needs you. You’re medicine, Jack!”
Robinson’s legacy is an example of how and why people should treat each other equally. With the support of his teammates, his coach and Rickey, Robinson’s confidence grows. He felt like he is no different from others.
The MLB players eventually accept Robinson and his story inspires generation after generation across different sports. No matter the background, all people should accept each other.
The film “42” shows how people with different backgrounds can work together and even be friends. Robinson inspired other Black athletes to join the MLB, such as the right-handed hitter from Kansas City Athletics and New York Mets, Ed Charles. Later in 1973, the Robinson family started a foundation called “The Jackie Robinson Foundation” to support minority students to go to college.
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