- 0:02:30 Brooklyn New York, Branch Rickey’s Office
- Rickey: Gentlemen, I have a plan.
Clyde: Plan's good, Mr. Rickey you always have one.
Rickey: Wife says I'm too old . . . and my health is not up to it. Son says everybody in baseball will be against me. But I'm gonna do it.
Harold: Do what Mr. Rickey?
Rickey: I'm going to bring a Negro ball player to the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Harold: With all due respect, sir, have you lost your mind!? Think, think about, think about the abuse you are going to take from the newspapers, let along how it's going to play out in Flatbush. Please, Mr. Rickey!
Rickey: Sit down, Harold. No law against it, Clyde.
Clyde: No, no, but there's a code. You break a law and get away with it, some people think you're smart. You break an unwritten law, you'll be an outcast.
Rickey: So be it. New York's filled with Negro baseball fans. Dollars aren't black and white, they're green. Every dollar's green, I don't know who he is or where he is, but he's coming.
- 0:09:03 Rickey and Robinson meet for the first
- Jackie: Mr. Rickey, what's this about?
Rickey: This is about baseball, Jackie, I see you starting the spring with our affiliate in
Montreal. If you make it there, we will try you down here with the Dodgers. The
white Brooklyn Dodgers. Pay you $600 a month and $3,500 bonus for signing
the contract. Is that agreeable?
Jackie: Yes, that's fine.
Rickey: There's one condition, I know you can hit behind a runner and that you can read
a pitch. One question is, can you control your temper?
Jackie: My temper?
Rickey: Yes your temper, what are you deaf? A black man in white baseball, can you
imagine the reaction, the vitriol. Dodgers check into a hotel, a decent, good hotel.
You're worn out from the road. Some clerk wont give you the pen to sign in with.
"We got no room for you boy, not even down in the coal bin where you belong."
Team stops at a restaurant, waiter wont take your order, "didn't you read the sign
on the door? No niggers allowed!" What are you going to do then, fight him?
Ruin all my plans! Answer me you black son of a bitch!
Jackie: You want a player that doesn't have the guts to fight back?
Rickey: No, no, I want a player who's got the guts not to fight back. People aren't gonna
like this, they will do anything to get you to react, echo a curse with a curse and they will hear only yours. Follow a blow with a blow, and they'll say a negro lost his temper that the negro does not belong. Your enemy will be out in force, you cannot meet him on his own low ground. We will win with hitting, running, fielding. Only that, we win if the world is convinced that you are a fine gentlemen and a great baseball player. Like our savior, you gotta have the guts to turn the other cheek. Can you do it?
Jackie: You give me a uniform, you give me a number on my back. And I'll give you the
- 0:22:00 Jackie meets Clay Hopper
- Rickey: Happy, meet Jackie Robinson. Jackie, I'd like you to meet Clay Hopper,
manager of the Montreal Royals.
Hopper: Call me Hop. Not doing much today, just tossing the ball around. You can
probably toss with those fellas over there. Jorgeson come here.
Rickey: You're not playing him at shortstop, huh, Clay?
Hopper: Quick release, his arm is too weak for short. Second base is his spot.
Rickey: I agree. Clay, I need you to get the other players to act like gentlemen around
him. Treat him like they would any other teammate. Be natural, work together in
harmony. Practically super-human.
Hopper: (laughs) super-human? Don't get carried away, Mr. Rickey, that's still a nigger
Rickey: Clay, I realize that attitude is from your cultural heritage. That you practically
nursed racial prejudice at your mother's breast, I'll let that go, but I will tell you
this, you will either manage Robinson fairly and correctly or you, sir, are gonna be
Hopper: Yes sir.
- 0:55:27 Wendell’s explanation
- Jackie: Taxi!
Wendell: Hey, Jack.
Jackie: You again.
Wendell: That's right, me again. They're something wrong with that, Jack?
Jackie: Where's the car?
Wendell: Right this way. They can't keep you in Montreal for long. After these
exhibition games they are going to have to bring you up. You don't have two words to rub together, do you? Do you ever wonder why I sit behind third base with my typewriter on my knees? Has that ever crossed your mind? Its because negro reporters aren't allowed in the press box. So guess what, you Mr. Robinson, are not the only one with something at stake here.
Jackie: I apologize, you've been there for me through this more than anyone besides for
Ray and Mr. Rickey. But I guess that's what bothers me.
Wendell: How do you mean?
Jackie: I don't like needing someone to be there for me. I don't like needing anyone for
anything. I never have.
Wendell: You a hard case, Jackie Robinson. Hey, is it ok if I keep driving you? Or should
I let you get out so you can walk? Huh?
- 1:37:42 Pee Wee gets a letter
- Rickey: What can I do for you, Pee Wee?
Pee Wee: Well, Mr. Rickey, its like this. Series in Cincinnati next week.
Rickey: Yes. Important road trip, we're only three games out of first.
Pee Wee: Yes sir. You know I'm from Kentucky?
Rickey: Then Cincinnati will nearly be a home game for you.
Pee Wee: Well, I got this letter. Apparently some people aren't too happy with me
playing with Robinson.
Rickey: "Nigger lover. We'll get you carpet bagger." Pretty typical stuff.
Pee Wee: Well, it's not typical to me sir.
Rickey: (laughs) how many of those letters have you gotten Pee Wee?
Pee Wee: Well just the one, ain't that enough? What are those?
Rickey: Well, I'll tell you what they aren't. They aren't letters from the Jackie Robinson
Pee Wee: "Get outta baseball or your baby boy will die." "Quit baseball or your nigger
wife will be . . ." "Get outta the game or be killed." Does Jackie know?
Rickey: Well, of course he does. And the FBI, they're taking the threat in Cincinnati
pretty seriously. So excuse me if I don't get too upset about you being called a
carpet bagger. You should be proud.
Pee Wee: Well I'd just like to play ball sir, that's all.
Rickey: Oh I understand, I bet Jackie just wants to play ball. I bet he wishes he wasn't
leading the league in hit-by-pitch. I bet he wishes people didn't want to kill him. World's not so simple anymore. Guess it never was, we just, ah, baseball ignored it, and now we can't.
Pee Wee: Yes sir.
- 1:40:25 Pee Wee hugs Jackie
- Little white boy: How many times do you think Pee Wee is gonna score today?
White Father: Well I don't know, son. I remember when I was a kid I saw Honus Wagner
play, saw him score three times that day. We'll just have to wait and see.
Little white boy: Wow, that would be great!
White Father: Hey, nigger boy! Get the hell out of Cincinnati! We don't want you here!
Go back to Brooklyn! Hey nigga, I'm talking to you! Get the hell outta Cincinnati, we don't want you here, boy!
Little white boy: Nigger! We don't want you here!
Dodgers announcer: Cincinnati fans expressing their displeasure as the Dodgers take the
field. Jackie Robinson at first, Brad, Eddie Stanky at second, Spider Jorgenson at third, and the captain Pee Wee Reese at short. Fans ask any man and they'll tell you the Gillette speed razor is a honey. Maybe the sweetest shaving razor you'll ever use. Look sharp, feel sharp, be sharp.
Pee Wee: They can say all they want, we just here to play ball.
Jackie: Just a bunch of crackpots still fighting the Civil War.
Pee Wee: Well, hell, we woulda won that son-of-a-gun if the corn stalks woulda held out.
We just ran outta ammunition.
Jackie: Better luck next time, Pee Wee.
Pee Wee: Ain't gonna be a next time, Jackie. All we got is right here, right now, you
know what I mean? Thank you, Jackie.
Jackie: What are you thanking me for?
Pee Wee: I got family up there from Louisville. I need them to know, I need them to
know who I am.
Umpire: Hey number 1! You playin ball or socializing?
Pee Wee: Playing ball ump. Playing ball. Maybe tomorrow we'll all wear 42, that way
they won't tell us apart.
- 1:46:35 Why I love baseball
- Rickey: (To reporters) Get outta here! Get out! Alright go on, let me talk to my first
baseman. Go! Getting stitched up for pete sake. Looks good. Stickin up for
himself is something you'd expect from any man. Some find it galling in a negro.
You know what I saw this morning? I was passing the sandlot; a little white boy
was up at bat. You know what he was doing?
Jackie: Sitting on a fastball?
Rickey: He was pretending that he was you. Rubbing dirt on his hands, swinging with his
arms outstretched, like you do. Little white boy, pretending he is a black man.
Jackie: Why'd you do this Mr. Rickey?
Rickey: We had a victory over Fascism in Germany. It's time, time we had a victory over
racism at home.
Jackie: No, why? Why'd you do it? Come on! Tell me.
Rickey: I love this game. I love baseball. Given my whole life to it. 40-odd years ago I
was a player coach at Ohio Wesleyan University. We had a negro catcher, best hitter on the team. Charlie Thomas, fine young man. Saw him laid low, broken, because of the color of his skin and I didn't do enough to help. Told myself I did, but I didn't. There was something unfair at the heart of the game I loved, and I ignored it. But a time came, when I could no longer do that. You, you let me love baseball again. Thank you.
- 1:51:19 Wendell’s story
- Wendell: It's the Fourth of July and the Dodgers have gone on a hot streak. Holding off
all challengers. During that time and during this season, I have watched Jackie Robinson submerge himself to serve something greater. And I don't mean the Brooklyn Dodgers, though he's doing that too, the man flat out has guts. A stand-up force of nature, he has complicated everything but himself. He's changing the world and refusing to let it change him. But baseball isn't tennis, it takes a team. Joining together was a start, staying together a big step forward, but working together is how you win. Down the stretch going into the last long road trip of the year, Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers are doing exactly that; they're holding off the Cardinals and streaking towards the pennant.