Ex NY Giant and north GA. resident shares Jackie Robinson stories
CHICKAMAUGA, GA. (WRCB) -- This week marks the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking Major League Baseball's 'color barrier' to become its first black player.
The turmoil that surrounded that milestone plays out in the new movie "42," filmed here in Chattanooga. It opened this past weekend to rave reviews.
Meanwhile, a North Georgia native spent Thursday sharing his eyewitness accounts of Jackie Robinson in his prime.
By his accounts, the movie "42" nailed it. Not just what Robinson faced, but all black athletes during that time.
Roy Wright watched Jackie play in his prime and years later he played with players like Willie Mays and Willie McCovey.
Wright remembers fans yelling from the box seats "you can't help but hear it, you hit another ball out of this park and I'll blow your head off."
Wright saw it, heard it and felt it. His former Major League teammates were fighting the same battle Jackie Robinson did less than a decade after Jackie broke the color barrier.
Wright recalled, "We had two blacks on our team, two, and as far as we were concerned they were just like we were. The waitress came over and said we don't serve blacks in here. So we all got up and walked out."
That was in South Carolina. As he said, it was very different from his upbringing in Ohio.
Years before he signed a major league contract with the New York Giants, Wright rode the train to Cincinnati's ballpark. He wanted to see this up and coming all-star with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
"They had a guy by the name of Jackie Robinson playing. At the time, not knowing it would be as important as it is now," said Wright.
Wright witnessed history. Jackie and Manager Branch Rickey changed the game and the movie "42" has brought it back to life.
"Like Branch told Jackie, turn the other cheek," said Wright.
Time after time Jackie fought back with silence.
Wright said, "It takes a special guy to do that. I admire all of them for what they went through. It was just amazing looking at it now. I couldn't of done it, I wouldn't have been emotionally strong enough."
Wright played with the New York Giants from 1956 to 1960. He made one MLB start on the mound.
After advancing in three seasons to AAA, Wright retired to spend more time with his family.