Daily Distractions: ’42′ in theaters today.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson in a Pasadena Junior College baseball uniform. (Photo used with permission, via Reddit)

With “42″ hitting theaters today, I decided to publish a Jackie Robinson-themed Daily Distractions today. These ought to tide us over as we wait to find out how much time Carlos Quentin and Zack Greinke will miss.

Enjoy:

• I asked Larry King what he thought of “42″ and he was floored by its historical accuracy. King said he attended Robinson’s first game as a Dodger on April 15, 1947 in Brooklyn (though he wasn’t consulted prior to filming the movie). He had no complaints about the celluloid re-creation of Ebbets Field, where he became a lifelong Dodgers fan. His only gripe: Dodgers left fielder Gene Hermanski bats left-handed and not right-handed, as he did in the film.

• I asked Jerry Hairston Jr. what he thought of “42.” Sam Hairston‘s grandson gave it two thumbs up but wished there had been some focus on Robinson’s contribution to the civil rights movement.

• To that end: “17 million Negroes cannot do as you suggest and wait for the hearts of men to change,” Robinson wrote a sitting President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, on May 13, 1958.

• The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum has gotten such a big boost from the film, the museum president is turning down corporate sponsors.

• At the end of this Rob Neyer piece you’ll find (via YouTube) The Jackie Robinson Story, the first Jackie Robinson biopic, starring Jackie Robinson as Jackie Robinson.

• Sports writer Wendell Smith is featured prominently in the film. The Chicago Sun-Times fills in his back story.

• Not featured prominently in the movie: “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?” by Woodrow Buddy Johnson and Count Basie:

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.