42 The Official Movie Novel

Brian Helgeland

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Lexile - 640L

The book 42 The Official Movie Novel was about Jackie Robinson. He was the first African American to play Major League Baseball. He started on the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

Branch Rickey was the Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager. He had played baseball in college with an African American player but Rickey treated him terribly.
Rickey felt guilty about how he had treated him and decided to sign an African American player to the Dodgers.

Branch Rickey started looking through a list of young black baseball players. He was looking for someone who was fast, was good, could take criticism and was tough. He picked Jackie Robinson. None of the major league baseball players or coaches were happy about an African American playing baseball and they were really mean to him. Including, Ben Chapman who was a coach for the Philadelphia Phillies. He didn't think a black man should be playing baseball in the big leagues.
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Robinson's position had been second base but the team needed a first basemen. They taught Jackie how to play 1st base, he struggled at first, but he wound up learning the position quickly and mastering it. He came up to bat at big moments and came through for the team hitting doubles, triples and home runs. His team mates started to realize that he was the same as them.
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The team started to receive hate mail and Jackie started to receive threats against him and his family. Pee Wee Reese was upset by the hate mail and went to Branch Rickey to complain. Rickey showed him that Robinson had it much worse and was receiving death threats. At a game from Pee Wee's home town, on the field in front of all the fans, Pee Wee put his arm around Robinson. He wanted to show the fans that they accepted Robinson as part of the team. He told Robinson "maybe we should all wear the number 42 then they can't tell us apart"!
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Eventually, all the fans see how good Jackie Robinson is and that he is winning many games for the Dodgers. They start to show respect to Robinson.
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In 2004, Major League Baseball started the National Jackie Robinson day on April 15th. That was the day of his first game in the Major League. Everyone is supposed to wear the number 42 and its the only day they can wear the number 42 since his number is retired.