3/21/2013 12:40 P.M. ET
Reinsdorf raves about Robinson movie '42'
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf didn't need to search for many words in describing his feelings about the movie "42," which was screened for members of the organization Wednesday night in the Westgate area of Glendale.
Reinsdorf gave a thumbs up to the movie about Jackie Robinson breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier and the important role played by Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey in the process.
"It was powerful," Reinsdorf said. "Harrison Ford has Rickey down cold. Cold! And the guy who played Red Barber [John C. McGinley] had Red Barber down cold. It brought back incidents I remembered like it was yesterday. It brought my youth back."
During an interview with MLB.com six years ago, Reinsdorf spoke as a die-hard Brooklyn Dodgers fan and recounted Robinson's days with detailed precision. He mentioned being at Robinson's Dodgers debut, which took place a few days before his first regular-season game on April 15, 1947. Robinson had been brought up to play in the traditional pre-Opening Day home-and-home series between the Dodgers and Yankees.
Reinsdorf also spoke of one opportunity missed to meet Robinson, a story he recounted on Wednesday night.
"It was a sold-out game at Ebbets Field," Reinsdorf recalled. "I always had general-admission seats that weren't reserved, and I was there with a friend of mine and some guy comes by and he says, 'How would you two kids like to be on the Jackie Robinson Show?'
"We are pretty smart, a couple of 14- or 15-year-old Brooklyn kids, and we thought he was just trying to get our seats. So we weren't going anyplace. We wouldn't move. A little while later, about a half-hour later, two other kids come walking by and said, 'We were just on the Jackie Robinson Show.'
"That's as close as I ever got to meeting Jackie. I know Rachel [Robinson's widow], but that's as close as I got to meeting Jackie. He was exciting. He was not the best ballplayer I ever saw, but he was the most exciting ballplayer I ever saw."
Chadwick Boseman portrays Robinson in the movie, and according to Reinsdorf, the film had everything about Robinson correct, including the way he jumped back and forth on the bases and how difficult it was to catch him in a rundown.
"I loved the rundown thing," Reinsdorf said. "I heard Joe Torre say, 'You couldn't tag him out.' He was incredible in rundowns. I saw him get out of a lot of rundowns."
The screening was open to all front-office members and players from the organization.
"Just left the @whitesox private screening of 42!" pitcher Donnie Veal tweeted. "Read a few books about Jackie Robinson, but seeing it on the big screen was very powerful!"
So powerful, Reinsdorf said that he could "easily watch this picture a couple of more times."
"I've got to see this picture again," he said.