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Looking at the bad guys in “42”

Apr 17, 2013, 8:23 AM EDT

Ben Chapman Jackie Robinson

Rob Neyer is at his absolute best when he’s writing historically. He has a tremendously large baseball library and, it appears anyway, he either has most of it memorized or at least painstakingly indexed.  Yesterday he used that brain and those tools to put together a great column. The subject: the stories behind the players and coaches in the movie “42” who served as the movie’s villains.

For what it’s worth, the movie got their roles down pretty good as far as these things go. But even though a lot of historical drama amps up the bad guy factor to comical proportions, even with real life figures, Rob notes that the makers of “42” seemed to avoid that for the most part.

Like I said, great stuff. Well, except for the part where he claims that the actor who played Wash in “Firefly” wasn’t handsome. That one just hurt. I hope Zoe doesn’t read this.

  1. heyblueyoustink - Apr 17, 2013 at 8:34 AM

    I don’t know why, but when you wrote the word villians, the words “Jabba no bother” came to mind.

  2. bravojawja - Apr 17, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    It’s okay, he’s a leaf on the wind.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Apr 17, 2013 at 9:04 AM

      Last week I mentioned something on Twitter about how I couldn’t feature Wash as a racist, so seeing Tudyk play Chapman was kind of hard.

      Someone replied: “well, it’s understandable if Wash hates poles.”

      It took me a second but then I LOL’d like absolute crazy.

      • bravojawja - Apr 17, 2013 at 9:10 AM

        I’m ashamed to admit it took me two seconds.

      • slartibartfast4242 - Apr 17, 2013 at 9:11 AM

        Craig is having a ‘nerdgasm.’

      • royhobbs39 - Apr 17, 2013 at 9:19 AM

        Neyer implied that although Chapman was “an exceptionally handsome fellow” Tudyk was not. My wife would disagree with that. She has mentioned she finds Wash more attractive than Mal. With her poor taste in men, I do not disbelieve her.

      • number42is1 - Apr 17, 2013 at 10:11 AM

        All i kept thinking throughout the movie was.. Hey! it’s Steve the Pirate.

    • spidur - Apr 17, 2013 at 9:29 AM

      Curse Rob’s sudden but inevitable betrayal!

  3. mybrunoblog - Apr 17, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    An excellent piece of research by Ray Neyer. Very well done.

    • mybrunoblog - Apr 17, 2013 at 8:53 AM

      Rob not Ray. More coffee please.

  4. Samuel - Apr 17, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    Reblogged this on But at the end of the day… and commented:
    Eye-opening piece right here. After watching the movie, it’s good to know a little background about the “villains” in the film.

    • 18thstreet - Apr 17, 2013 at 9:32 AM

      Craig, is there any way we can put a filter on “reblogged” to make sure these posts never see the light of day? The people have spoken: we hate that word.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Apr 17, 2013 at 10:22 AM

        Sorry. It’s a WordPress feature. Don’t think I can do anything about it, but I’ll look into it. Personally, it’s good when people “reblog” this stuff, so even if the comment is kinda weird, the concept is ok.

      • number42is1 - Apr 17, 2013 at 10:56 AM

        If you don’t mind my asking why are you so against folks reblogging these articles?

      • ptfu - Apr 17, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        Because the “reblogged” posts include a link to the person’s blog. Many of us suspect these posts are created to take advantage of that–in other words, to spam us with their own stuff.

        Again, I believe it’s not the reblogging itself that’s the issue, it’s the auto-generated link to the person’s blog that’s the issue.

      • jwbiii - Apr 17, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        Anybody with a green handle has a blog. Go there or don’t, your choice. number42is1’s features an attractive photo of waves crashing on a rocky coast.

  5. sdelmonte - Apr 17, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    Fascinating article. Frankly, I don’t really buy anyone’s autobiography on this topic. Would anyone ever come out and say, “yeah, I hated him and I still do because he’s black.” But at the same time, I think it’s likely that at least some people saw the light.

    There have been some amazing articles about Jackie, baseball and race this year. Steven Goldman wrote a bittersweet feature on Robinson, Nixon and the politics of the time for SB Nation, and an indictment of the old Yankees’ Jim Crow policies for Pinstriped Bible.

  6. Jonny 5 - Apr 17, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    It’s my opinion that if racism is a learned trait, it can be corrected. Much like #42 taught many people. IMO he was more successful at that than MLK was. Again just an opinion.

  7. normcash - Apr 17, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Thanks for the post and the link…great stuff!

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