I went to see a movie last weekend, even though I am really not a movie goer. Story lines that come from books are usually better in my mind when I am reading them than when they are translated to the big screen.
I am not a fan of horror and gore movies. I am not a fan of moronic comedy movies. I am not a fan of real-life movies. Most of the time I wouldn’t pay $9.50 to live the real-life story, let alone watch it with bunches of people in a theater. When I go to the cinema, it tends to be comic-book movies. Action. Adventure. The spectacular. The good guy wins. The bad guy loses. The good guy kisses the girl.
But last weekend, I went to see “42.”
I hesitated to see this movie because I am not a Dodger fan. I grew up in the days of Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Bobby Richardson and Elston Howard. I was, and still am, a Yankee fan. One of the first World Series that I remember watching on television was in 1963 — and you guessed it, the Dodgers swept the Yankees in four straight games, marking the first time the boys in pinstripes had lost a World Series without even a whimper.
Since that time, I have added another reason to not be a Dodger fan. I went to college in Cincinnati during the days of the Big Red Machine. I watched games in Riverfront Stadium involving Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez. The Dodgers were more than bums now — they were the team that started a Reds’ losing streak when they took a road trip to the coast.
The movie was a good baseball movie; but it was a great movie to stir memories. I was reminded of the day my grandfather took me out to an old ball park in Terre Haute, Ind. in 1961. Terre Haute had a minor league team in the Three-I League — teams from Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa — during the 20s through the 50s. Most of the time the Terre Haute team was called the Hottentots — yes, that’s right — later shortened to just the Tots. Many years the team was unaffiliated with a Major League team, though for a couple of years they were the farm team of the old Saint Louis Browns, and later the Phillies and the Tigers. They played in a stadium near Deming Park that by the 1960s sat vacant most of the time.