The cast of 42: You be the judge

April 10, 2013

Cautiously optimistic about the release of 42 this week. As reported in the Arts & Leisure section of last Sunday’s Times, it’s difficult to boil down the meaning of such an iconic figure in a 128-minute film. As such films are wont, it is “based on a true story.”

The list of ballplayers and other baseball personnel who get screen time is pretty impressive. But how realistic are their depictions when compared to the real deal?  I know I won’t be able to look at some without think of them in their signature roles (T.R. Knight from Grey’s Anatomy; John C. McGinley from Scrubs, etc.).


Jackie Robinson

Chadwick Boseman
Branch Rickey Harrison Ford. Not terrible, but I think John Goodman would have made a good choice.
Leo Durocher Christopher Meloni
Pee Wee Reese   Lucas Black
Dixie Walker   Ryan Merriman.
Child, please.
Ben Chapman Alan Tudyk Joe Garagiola Gino Anthony Pesi Gino Anthony Pesi Ralph Branca Hamish Linklater Herb Pennock Mark Harelik
Dodgers P Kirby Higbe Kirby Higbe Brad Beyer Bobby Bragan Derek Phillips Eddie Stanky Jesse Luken
Player Gene Hermanski (far left, with Robinson and Gil Hodges) 42-blake-sanders-chadwick-boseman Blake Sanders Red Barber John C. McGinley Wendell Smith Andre Holland Burt Shotton Max Gail Stan Musial David Stanbra

The are a few other real-life baseball personalities depicted in 42 — coach Jake Pitler, pitcher Hugh Casey, outfielder Carl Furillo, Commissioner Happy Chandler, etc. — but I was unable to find sufficient photos for comparison. Some of these actors seem too pretty for their dopplegangers, but that could be an effect of the quality of photographers back in the day. At the risk of sounding sexist, IMHO, the actor who plays Robinson’s wife, Rachel, seems like a 2013 woman transported back to the 1940s.

The movie has been in the public forum for several month’s so the media stories will only increase in frequency over the next week or so. Here’s one from the NY Daily News.

Bill Littlfield interviewed former minor leaguer Jasha Balcom, who serves as Chadwick Boseman’s stunt double in 42, on last week’s show.

You can see a variety of stills from 42 here.


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