Capturing Jackie Robinson's greatness

(CBS News) Monday marks the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut as a major league ballplayer with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

This weekend the movie "42," the story of Jackie's life, opens around the country. I haven't seen it yet, but it will have to be a great movie to match his life.

He was, of course, the first to break the color barrier in what they called America's game -- a game, until then, open only to some Americans.

The Dodgers' general manager, Branch Rickey, picked him not because he was the best player in the old Negro League, as it was called, but because he thought Robinson had the character to withstand the hatred he was sure to face.

And he was hated, taunted and threatened, but he responded in the most effective way -- as a ballplayer.

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That first season he was the National League Rookie of the Year. Three years later he was the Dodgers' highest-paid player, and in 1955 the Dodgers won their first World Series.

I hear good things about this movie and I plan to see it. After all, a movie about a man of his greatness doesn't have to be that good to be worth seeing.

  • Bob Schieffer On Twitter»

    Bob Schieffer is CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation.

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