There are movies and then there are really good movies, like the recently released “42.”
By John A. Schwarz
There are movies and then there are really good movies, like the recently released “42.” It is the story of the Brooklyn Dodgers and No. 42, Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues and the first to win MVP. Robinson was also the first pro athlete in any sport to have his uniform number retired. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
The Dodgers twice broke my heart. The first time was when Mickey Owen let Hugh Casey’s pitch get away on a passed ball, which had ended the game. The Yankees then went on to win the game and the World Series. The second time was in 1951 when Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants hit a home run off of Ralph Branca to win the National League pennant. The Dodgers were a team of extraordinary athletes and characters who gave their fans thousands of thrilling moments.
When the film credits rolled, we learned what happened to many of the Dodgers once their involvement with the team ended. When it came to Ralph Branca, it was noted that, “He lives in Rye, New York.” I don’t know what kind of reaction that elicited in Rapid City, South Dakota, but the audience in the Loew’s Theater in Port Chester certainly liked it!
After the Dodgers moved out to the West Coast, I was in limbo for years. I couldn’t bring myself to root for the Yankees.
Then came the New York Metropolitans, aka the Mets. I was at the first game at Shea Stadium in 1964 and again for the first game at Citi Field 45 years later in 2009. There are good reasons why, in certain quarters, I’m known as Mr. Met. Before I was a Mets fan, however, I was a fanatical Brooklyn Dodgers fan.
See the movie. It’s a great story, one I was so fortunate to watch play out from the moment Jackie Robinson arrived in Brooklyn.