Negro League players hope '42' gets more African-American kids in baseball

April 12, 2013 2:59:09 PM PDT
The life and struggles of Jackie Robinson was brought to life in the movie ''42,'' which opened in theaters on Friday.

Robinson's message of strength and perseverance is what brought Donald Cox and his son to the theatre.

"He's so young he doesn't remember and know about [what] things were like back then with racism and all that. This is the only way I can show him," Cox said.

Robinson broke down color barriers and forced Major League Baseball to welcome African American players. He paved the way for Negro League legends Ray "Boo Boy" Knox and Hank "Baby" Presswood, who say without Robinson their talents would have gone unnoticed.

"To me he was the greatest ball player, he did some things that a whole lot of other players couldn't do in baseball," Knox said.

In the past two decades, the number of African-American baseball players has decreased so significantly that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is forming a task force to find out why.

Donald Cox thinks it comes down to resources.

"It's cheaper to play basketball, you only need a basketball, with baseball you need Kelly's, a bat a glove all that," Cox said.

Knox agrees, and said he hopes this movie helps rejuvenate African American youth to get into the game.

"I hope it does, and the way other people are trying to help, I think it will help some when they go to see it," Knox said.