By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — Major League Baseball is celebrating in 2022 the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson shattering its racial barriers. Aside from last Friday’s Jackie Robinson Day, when every team’s players wore his number 42, there’s now a new project coming to celebrate his legacy. It is being executive produced by LeBron James, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, and critically-acclaimed director Andre Gaines and will make its debut June 18 on the History Channel.
The two-hour program is titled “After Jackie.” It will tell, according to publicity material, the “often overlooked story of the second wave of talented Black baseball players after Jackie Robinson, including Bill White, Curt Flood and Bob Gibson, who were up next in the fight for racial equality.”
The project is described in this manner according to the website Shadow & Act: “After Jackie” delves deep into the untold stories of White, Flood and Gibson who refused to let the color of their skin determine the boundaries of their successes and whose resolute determination and tenacity marked a new standard of acceptance and inclusivity within the sport of baseball and ultimately around the world. The film features new and rare interviews with White and Gibson, before his untimely passing, as well as former and current baseball players such as CC Sabathia, Mookie Betts, Ken Griffey Jr., Joe Torre, Dave Roberts, Al Downing and Tim McCarver, renowned sports journalists, and unlimited access to Major League Baseball’s expansive media archive chronicling more than a century of baseball history, as well as rarely seen Jackie Robinson footage, to help tell this important story.”
Robinson’s story has been told before, from the feature film in which he portrayed himself to the Chadwick Boseman vehicle “42.” But this production does more than simply recount Robinson’s heroics. He was particularly unhappy after his retirement with the slow progress made by baseball in offering Black players management opportunities. The film spotlights the sacrifices and efforts of White, Flood, and future Hall of Famer Gibson.
“After Jackie” is produced by LeBron James’ Emmy winning brand UNINTERRUPTED and Firelight Films in association with Major League Baseball and in collaboration with The Jackie Robinson Foundation. James, Maverick Carter, Jamal Henderson and Philip Byron are executive producers for UNINTERRUPTED. Stanley Nelson is the executive producer for Firelight Films. Andre Gaines serves as executive producer and director.