Jackie Robinson wore No. 42 when he played 10 seasons for the Brooklyn Dodgers. (Today is Jackie Robinson Day, when every MLB player wears the long-retired number on his jersey, in tribute to Robinson.) And that number is the title of the new Robinson biopic, which opened in theaters Friday and took in $27 million over the weekend to get to first place at the box office.
Though 42 wasn't shot in KC, the movie recalls Robinson's time with the Kansas City Monarchs, a dominant Negro Leagues team, before he joined the major league on April 15, 1947. So a mix of Hall of Fame players, Hollywood names (including 42 top-liner Harrison Ford) and local big shots came out for a red-carpet premiere at the AMC BarryWoods 24. The event was a fundraiser for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and The Pitch was there to see stars Chadwick Boseman (who plays Robinson), Ford (who plays Dodgers GM Branch Rickey) and Andre Holland (Wendell Smith, the first African-American journalist allowed into major-league press boxes). That's Boseman and Ford at right; video after the jump.
My crew (producer-videographer Val Anderson and editor Marshal Wyatt of Outpost Worldwide) didn't have the cash or influence to watch the film inside with former Kansas City Star and now NBC Sports columnist Joe Posnanski, whose discussion with Ford and others was part of the premium for those who bought the big-dollar tickets.
He did. And he even left the red carpet with Boseman to sign posters and re-sign the yearbook. Ford may look cranky in our clip, but after signing hundreds of autographs and fielding questions from folks like me, it was understandable if he got a little impatient when I bellowed my less-than-original query.
The museum now has a jersey that Boseman wore in 42. Considering how that number changed both the sport and the nation forever, perhaps 42 really is the answer to life, the universe and everything.