"The four most important teams in baseball history — the Red Sox, Yankees, Cardinals and Dodgers — in terms of history, in terms of success, none of them has ever had a black manager," Bryant said. "We're not just talking about race. We're not just talking about baseball. It's an example of how far we've come and how far we need to go. There is this feeling that on April 15, 1947, everything was fine. It was just a start."
Former major leaguer Dmitri Young, who played 13 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals and now coaches kids in suburban Los Angeles, thinks young people today have no idea what Robinson endured. He hopes a movie like "42" can change that, and can show black kids that baseball is a great game to play.
"I think most people know that on Jackie Robinson Day, everyone wears 42, but they don't know the significance behind it. ... MLB did it right when they let everyone wear 42 so they can experience that day. When I was playing, they'd pick one black player on each team and say, 'That's the guy,'" Young said. "When they let in all the races, that's what America is all about."
AP Entertainment Writer Ryan Pearson contributed to this report.