Results tagged ‘ Branch Rickey ’

Rickie Weeks Selected as Brewers Nominee for Branch Rickey Award

Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks today was named the Brewers nominee for the 2013 Branch Rickey award presented by the Rotary Club of Denver.  This is the first year fans have been able to vote for their choice for the Branch Rickey award and enter a drawing for a trip to the 2013 World Series.  Fans can use online voting through Facebook by visiting the Branch Rickey Award website.

Fans may vote as many times as they would like during the Fan Voting period which ends Monday, August 12, 2013 at 12:59 p.m. CT.

Unlike the many baseball awards based on statistics, the Branch Rickey Award recognizes individuals who give unselfishly of themselves to their communities. These men are strong role models for today’s young people. All of the honorees personify Rotary International’s motto, “Service Above Self.”

Rickie Weeks at the team S.C.O.R.E. event in 2012

Rickie Weeks at the team S.C.O.R.E. event in 2012

Year in and year out, Weeks has given back to the Milwaukee community.  Weeks has supported the American Diabetes Association, the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, the Beckum-Stapleton Little League and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Wisconsin.  He has also contributed to scholarship programs for Milwaukee-area students and, since 2008, has sponsored the “Rickie’s Rookies” ticket program which provides hundreds of tickets and t-shirts to youth groups across the state.

Rickie Weeks with one of his scholarship recipients in 2012.

Rickie Weeks with one of his scholarship recipients in 2012.

Each Major League team was asked to nominate a humanitarian from their team for the 2013 award. A National Selection Committee, composed of 450 members of the sports media, past award winners, baseball executives and Rotary district governors, has been invited to vote on the nominees. The independent accounting firm of RubinBrown will verify the results.  The Fan Vote will be taken into account in selecting the winner.

The Rotary Club of Denver plans to announce the 2013 Branch Rickey Award honoree in mid-September.  This year’s winner, along with all the previous recipients, will be invited to attend the Branch Rickey Award banquet on Saturday, Nov. 16, in Denver.  The winner will be inducted as the 22nd member of the Baseball Humanitarians Hall of Fame.  Presenting sponsor is AMG National Trust Bank.

Branch Rickey

Branch Rickey

The late Branch Rickey, known to millions as “Mr. Baseball,” is credited with breaking the color barrier in the Major Leagues in 1945 when he signed Jackie Robinson, the first modern-day African-American player.  He also hired the first Hispanic player, Roberto Clemente.  Rickey was portrayed by Harrison Ford in the recent Jackie Robinson movie “42.”

Rickey helped develop the farm system in baseball and stimulated the sport’s expansion into more cities. Always an advocate for underprivileged children, he spearheaded the development of the famous “Knot Hole Gang,” to allow kids to attend big league games.

The Milwaukee community is lucky to have the support of a guy like Weeks.  He is a quiet guy off the field and doesn’t look for recognition for his large heart, but he is well deserving of this award.

–JOHN

johnandcait@brewers.com

42 a Must-See for Baseball Fans

Last night, I was privileged to attend a special screening of “42,” the highly-anticipated Warner Bros & Legendary Pictures biopic of the late, great Jackie Robinson, with a special reception for community leaders, hosted in part by Brewers Community Foundation.

42 Movie

The showing, which took place at Mayfair Mall’s AMC Theatres, was one of just three private screenings in the entire country. In addition to Milwaukee, the other screenings took place in Washington D.C. (hosted by Michelle Obama) and in Atlanta, GA (with Hank Aaron in attendance), also last evening.

The movie is scheduled to open in theaters on Friday, April 12, but I’ve got a review for you here, plus details on a play based on Robinson’s life opening in Milwaukee called Jackie and Me.

First, in case you haven’t seen it, here’s the 42 trailer to whet your appetite:

Although the movie is called “42,” referencing Jackie Robinson’s jersey number, this story is not only about Jackie—it’s also about legendary Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey, whose brave stand against prejudice forever changed the world by changing the game of baseball.

Because, in Rickey’s words, “There is more than playing. I wish it meant only hits runs, and errors-only the things they put in the box score. Because…a baseball box score is a democratic thing. It doesn’t tell how big you are, what church you attend, what color you are, or how your father voted in the last election.”

The movie opens in 1945 and chronicles Robinson’s journey from the Negro Leagues team the Kansas City Monarchs to the Brooklyn Dodgers’ AAA Club, the Montreal Royals and finally to his Major League debut on April 15, 1947 as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers (a date we now commemorate across MLB as Jackie Robinson Day).

I will warn you that there are a few scenes that are tough to watch—but then you remember that this is not just a fictional movie; it’s something that actually happened less than 70 years ago, and you think about how, if it’s so hard for you to watch, how hard must it have been for Robinson to endure?

That’s the feeling the filmmakers are trying to convey. And they don’t just want you to sympathize with Robinson (although that’s a key theme in the film)—they want to illustrate the type of man that he was, how primarily with help from Rickey, his wife, and a reporter named Wendell Smith, he prevailed in the face of the greatest of adversity and went on to not only break the color barrier, but become the 1947 Rookie of the Year and stolen bases champion, a six-time All-Star, and World Series Champion (1955).

Story aside for a moment, the acting in this film is just superb. Chadwick Boseman, a relatively unknown actor, gives an amazing performance as Jackie Robinson and Nicole Beharie, an actress of similar stature is stunning and gorgeous in her role as his wife, Rachel. And although I will admit that I had my doubts when I heard Harrison Ford was playing Branch Rickey (especially after reading this article), he surprised me with a very believable and powerful portrayal. The other actors in the film, particularly those playing Robinson’s teammates or rivals, also did an excellent job. Whether it was someone lovable who sympathized with Robinson and reached out to him; or someone despicable (and there are plenty), you could tell that each character and line of dialogue was specifically chosen by screenwriter Brian Helgeland and really (excuse the pun) hits home.

One of my favorite people in the story is Pee Wee Reese the Brooklyn Dodgers’ All-Star shortstop, portrayed by Lucas Black. His prowess on the field aside, Reese is also famous for his support of Robinson through the most difficult times.

Here's a graphic from the movie's Facebook page, depicting a powerful scene between Reese & Robinson.

Here’s a graphic from the movie’s Facebook page, depicting a powerful scene between Reese & Robinson.

In the movie he says to Robinson, “Maybe tomorrow we’ll all wear 42. That way they won’t be able to tell us apart.”

It’s a moment of levity and a moment of foreshadowing because, as you’re likely aware, each year on April 15, in an inspiring, league-wide effort, Major League Baseball teams observe Jackie Robinson Day. On this day, all players and on-field personnel wear the number “42,” in honor of his indelible legacy and commemorating the historic date when Baseball truly became our national game. This year, because the Brewers have an off-day on Monday, April 15, we’ll celebrate Jackie Robinson Day on April 16 when the San Francisco Giants come to town.

There’s also another Brewers-Robinson connection: First Stage Children’s Theater will feature the play Jackie and Me at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in Milwaukee. It will be performed April 12 through May 5 and Brewers Community Foundation and Rickie Weeks are serving as sponsors of the production. Tickets can be ordered online at firststage.org.

JackieAndMe_2012-13

Now since the Brewers had a game last night, unfortunately none of our players were able to attend the screening. However, in Washington, in addition to the movie’s cast and crew, Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals was in attendance on his off-day. He tweeted:

Likewise, some of the Atlanta Braves spent their off-day seeing the movie as well:

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I hope you’ll take our recommendations and go and see this amazing film. I can’t wait to hear what you think. Please share your comments/reviews below.

-Cait

johnandcait@brewers.com

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