I took my son to go see 42 yesterday. When he was younger, he had a copy of the 1950 production of The Jackie Robinson story. He just about wore it out. He was asked in 1st grade what his favorite movie was and he said "The Jackie Robinson Story". He had been fascinated by Robinson ever since. As he has grown, it was time for him to gain a deeper appreciation for the challenge that Robinson and, to a lesser degree, Branch Rickey faced. We both though the film was well done and left the theater singing "Did you see Jackie Robinson hit that ball".
One thing I thought was particularly well done in the movie was to show how tough the process was on Jackie's wife, Rachel Robinson. The powerful scene where Phillies Manager Ben Chapman is openly berating Robinson with racist taunts and insults. Robinson was clearly struggling and the camera cut to Mrs. Robinson saying "look at me, look at me." She wanted to let him know he wasn't alone in undergoing the abuse. She wanted to support him but she was in the stands and he was one the field. There were several scenes that I found moving involving the relationship between Jackie and Rachel. Of the four relationship threads in the movie (Robinson and Rickey, Robinson and writer Wendell Smith, Robinson and the team, and Jackie and Rachel) I found this to be the most compelling.
I have great respect for Rachel Robinson. She heard the taunts, she suffered the abuse second hand, she had to sit still while she saw someone she loved being mistreated, and she was anxious at home while he was on the road in some very hostile places. It became clear to me that she was a very key part of Jackie Robinson being able to withstand the challenge of breaking the color line.
So today as the baseball world wears 42 today to honor Jackie and his remarkable feat. I tip my cap to Rachel Robinson for being there behind Jackie. Supporting him, encouraging him, and urging him on. Helping him become the baseball hero that is remembered today.