Yesterday was Jackie Robinson Day, the sixty-sixth anniversary of Robinson’s Major League debut. To celebrate and recognize Robinson’s impact on baseball and on the nation as a whole, his number 42 was worn on jerseys throughout baseball, a number that had been retired throughout the MLB in 1997 by Commissioner Bud Selig.
With the release of the movie “42” this past weekend, Jackie Robinson Day has received a significantly greater amount of attention this year. At Dodger Stadium yesterday, Harrison Ford, who played Branch Rickey in “42,” threw out the ceremonial first pitch. (For those who don’t know, Branch Rickey was the general manager that provided Robinson with the opportunity to join the Dodgers in the 1940s.) Former Brooklyn Dodgers ball boy, Norman Berman, threw out the ceremonial first pitch in Miami.
The movie itself proved to be a hit at the box office. Drawing in over $27 million over the weekend, “42” has possibly established itself as the most successful baseball movie ever. This proved to be the most successful opening weekend for a baseball movie ever, and it was definitely the most successful movie overall for the weekend. The timing of the movie’s release no doubt aided its success, with the start of baseball season still fresh in the minds of fans and, of course, yesterday being Robinson’s holiday. Predictions have been floating around that the flick could wind up making around $100 million.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to watch the film this weekend with my dad, and I highly recommend it. If you like baseball, history, civil rights, sports in general, or even business, this movie is worth watching. If all you want is an entertaining drama, this movie does that too. Virtually everybody can derive some kind of enjoyment from this movie. It is being applauded for its accuracy in the retelling of Jackie Robinson’s early experiences. It’s not perfect, of course, but no historical film ever is. We get introduced to Chadwick Boseman, who plays a compelling Jackie Robinson, and we also get the pleasure of seeing Han Solo/Indiana Jones star as the man who made it all happen.
But don’t take my word for it. Go see the movie for yourself! You won’t be disappointed. And if you missed out on the opportunity to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day yesterday, you can still have your chance today, as those Major League Baseball teams that did not play yesterday will be sporting the number 42 today.