The Jackie Robinson movie “42″ has made a strong impression on many African-American high school baseball players and coaches in the Washington area. Woodbridge senior outfielder Logan Farrar has seen it three times already and jokes that he will cap his number of viewings at 42 — at least until it comes out on DVD.
Many black players and coaches I’ve spoken to in recent weeks have not yet seen the movie because of team and school commitments. Below are thoughts from five African Americans who have seen it.
We’ll give Farrar the leadoff spot, considering he’s already sunk about $30 into watching it.
Woodbridge outfielder Logan Farrar (Virginia Commonwealth signee): “It was a great, really touching movie. It just showed how far people have come and why people see him as such an icon in baseball. I think the scene that was most touching is when he stepped down into the tunnel and broke his bat a couple times in anger and frustration. I thought that was a real tough part of the movie to watch, but at the same time, it just showed how strong he was to not let anyone else see him because they might have seen him as weak. He didn’t want to show those who didn’t think he belonged in the game that he was frustrated because that would not do anything but make them happier.”
St. John’s shortstop Errol Robinson (Ole Miss): “I thought it was pretty much spot-on from what I’ve researched. I did a report on him for my economics class. They showed the truth in the situation that he was in. It was pretty amazing what he had to go through. I couldn’t imagine coming out of a dugout and people getting him with those kinds of words that they used to say back in the day. I just couldn’t imagine a manager from another team saying that. And even his own teammates. He had to try to get them on his side.”
Maret Coach Antoine Williams (via e-mail): “It is now one of my all-time favorite movies! I cried, laughed and was angered at different points in the movie. I wish this movie had come out years earlier. I think this movie will inspire African Americans to have more courage in breaking down barriers. I knew from the time I left the theater that this movie would have a lasting impact on how I see baseball for the rest of my life. African Americans and all baseball fans are forever indebted to Jackie Robinson. He played the game knowing that it put him and his family at risk.”
Herndon outfielder Ky Parrott (James Madison University): “It was very inspirational the stuff that he went through and the adversity he had to battle to be the first African American player in the major leagues. There aren’t many African Americans playing baseball nowadays and to watch him break the barrier with the stuff that he had to go through was an inspiration. [The scene] that hit me harder than the rest of the movie is when he went to bat and the people in the stands were heckling him and the child saw his parents heckling and followed their lead. I thought it was sad because it showed how people were raised.”
DeMatha senior first baseman Carl Colbert: “It shows exactly what he had to go through to make it possible for me to have a moment like this [on the field after winning the WCAC title] and for my team to have a moment like this. The scene when the opposing manager was going off on him and he popped out or struck out or something like that and he went to the clubhouse and slammed everything around — the bravery that he has to come back out there and finish. You have to stay levelheaded, no matter what it is. So for him to stay levelheaded through something like that, there’s no reason I can’t stay levelheaded if I strike out or make an error.”