This year marks the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. He made his MLB debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, beginning a heroic battle against bigotry, during which he put his life on the line to integrate the national pastime.
Black ballplayers waited on deck for Robinson to circle the bases, so that they could join him and pave the way for future generations. That story is not as well known, but that will be changing soon.
“After Jackie” is a documentary to be produced by NBA superstar LeBron James and his Sports Emmy-winning brand Uninterrupted, in collaboration with the History Channel, Firelight Films, Major League Baseball and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
James’ co-executive producer, Maverick Carter, as well as Emmy Award-winning and 2022 Academy Award nominee Stanley Nelson of Firelight Films and producer/director Andre Gaines will put the spotlight on the second wave of Black baseball players to integrate the Majors, including Bob Gibson, Curt Flood and Bill White.
“As a lifelong fan of baseball, I’m thrilled to be presenting this in-depth documentary on some of the lesser-known legends who followed in Jackie Robinson’s footsteps to push past racial barriers in order to make Major League Baseball more inclusive,” Nelson said. “I’m excited to work with Andre Gaines on this project and am grateful to the History Channel, Uninterrupted, Major League Baseball and The Jackie Robinson Foundation for making this film possible.”
The documentary will be largely based on Robinson’s private letters and will also feature interviews with former and current Major League players such as CC Sabathia and Mookie Betts. MLB will be providing the group unlimited access to its expansive video archives for the project.
“Everyone knows about the bravery Jackie Robinson exhibited in April 1947, but they probably don’t know about the tenacious men who followed him that continued to demand the game of baseball reflect the diversity of the world in which we live in,” said Eli Lehrer, executive vice president and head of programming of the History Channel. “History is proud to partner again with LeBron and Stanley and with Major League Baseball to create a powerful documentary that showcases the courage, grit and relentless determination of the baseball players that rose up after Jackie to alter the course of history for the better.”
No release date for “After Jackie” has been announced.