Rand: New Jackie Robinson movie stirs memories for local man

  • Updated: April 12, 2013 - 12:27 AM

With the movie’s opening comes a chance for longtime Twin Cities resident Ron Rabinovitz to share his personal tales of Robinson.

hide

As a child, Ron Rabinovitz, right, became pen pals and friends with his hero, baseball star Jackie Robinson, and kept letters and memorabilia Robinson sent to him. He is pleased the new movie, “42,” is honoring Robinson’s legacy.

Photo: JIM GEHRZ • jgehrz@startribune.com ,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The wide-reaching legacy of Jackie Robinson has a constant presence in baseball and society, but at times we need reminders of just what it meant when Robinson broke the Major League Baseball color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

That comes in the form of “42,” a movie opening locally Friday that chronicles Robinson’s rookie season. Chadwick Boseman plays Robinson, while Harrison Ford plays Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey.

And with the movie’s opening comes a chance for longtime Twin Cities resident Ron Rabinovitz to share his personal tales of Robinson. As a youngster growing up in the 1950s in Sheboygan, Wis., Rabinovitz was a huge baseball fan. His father, David, wrote a letter to Robinson in hopes that the player and the young boy could meet when the Dodgers played in Milwaukee.

Robinson wrote back and said he would love to meet the family, while also sending along an autographed picture. The meeting at the ballpark not only happened, it spawned a kinship that lasted into Rabinovitz’s adulthood until Robinson’s death in 1972.

“At first, I just loved him because he was helping my Dodgers win pennants,” Rabinovitz said. “Then I realized how much bigger than baseball he really was.”

The two traded letters, many of which Rabinovitz still has in his home. Robinson sent a telegram of congratulations when Rabinovitz graduated from high school. Many times when the Dodgers played in Milwaukee, the Rabinovitz family had a meal with him.

“I often wondered, ‘Why me?’ ” Rabinovitz said. “I was white, he was black. I was Jewish, he was Christian. I was a kid, he was an adult.”

The answer might be found in one of the letters Robinson wrote to Rabinovitz so many years ago. It started out with pleasantries about the weather and the season the Dodgers were having, but then it wove its way into something far more philosophical. “I learned a long time ago that a person must be true to himself if he is to succeed,” Robinson wrote.

Now Robinson’s story is reborn on the big screen. “I think it’s tremendous,” Rabinovitz said of the movie. “He’s getting the recognition and due he deserves.”

MICHAEL RAND

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Detroit1000400106152
Minnesota «06000923X20203
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:R.Pressly(2-0) L:R.Ray(1-4)
HR: DET- I.Kinsler (12) MIN- T.Plouffe (10), E.Escobar (4), D.Santana (6), O.Arcia (14)

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta - WP: D. Hale 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit - LP: R. Ray 6 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: R. Pressly 20
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 13 FINAL
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 5
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 1 FINAL
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 5
LA Angels - LP: J. Grilli 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Gray 5
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 2 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: D. Haren 6
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 6 FINAL
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 72 FINAL
Phoenix 75
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close