The faith of Jackie Robinson -- The biographical film “42” depicts Jackie Robinson’s courageous battle to break the color barrier in
major league baseball. At the same time, the film provides a small glimpse of his religious faith, which afforded the strength he
needed to overcome fierce opposition.
“It took two Christians to pull this off,” says Chris Lamb, the author of
“Blackout: The Untold Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Spring Training” (University of Nebraska, 2004).
“Robinson was a Christian and Branch Rickey was a Christian,” he notes. “Sometimes we miss
Lamb was blind to it himself until he researched Robinson’s life for his book. “I
kept wondering all these years what kept Robinson together,” he says. “Finally I realized what I missed before –
the core came from above.”
The film accurately depicts the role of Brooklyn Dodgers President Branch Rickey in advancing
desegregation in baseball. Rickey, a devout Methodist, was sometimes known as “the deacon” due to his forthright
“It was in every part of him,” Lamb says. “He spoke often about his religion.
You could see him across the room and even with the cigar smoke, there was a warm glow.”
As an athlete, Rickey was demoted from the major leagues to the minor leagues, because he
refused to play baseball on Sundays, according to Lamb.
“His religion was not a coat he put on and took off at night,” Lamb says. “It
was a part of his skin, and he took it with him wherever he went.”