“I told my wife the night before I pitched that I might have trouble with Robinson — that one of my pitches would hit him, if he didn’t move back. I knew, too, some people would say it was intentional. It wasn’t at all, but in his first trip to the plate I hit him. After that, he moved back a couple of inches and showed me some respect.”
Ostermueller retired in 1948 after a long career in professional baseball. He died of cancer in 1957 at age 50.
It is the apparent lack of research that went into the movie that bothers Duesterhaus.
“A single Google search would show he was not hit in the head and that there was no fight on the mound,” she said. “They also would have learned that my father was a lefty. In the movie, he’s depicted as being a right-hander.
“Surely there were real incidents of racism that they could have used without making something up. You shouldn’t have to make anything up. Truth and fiction get blurred in this picture. It put a spotlight on my father for the wrong reason.
“I can understand Hollywood making a good story, but not at the expense of someone else’s memory and legacy. They never should have identified him by his real name in the movie.”
She also said that someone watching the movie might think that she grew up in a racist household.
“Nothing could be farther from the truth,” she said. “I was raised in a home with no racial overtones.”
Details for this story were provided by Wally Kenndy, a reporter for The Joplin (Mo.) Globe.