"42" Commits an Error?

Fritz Ostermueller
It's the story about Jackie Robinson's rookie season in the National League. It's a story about racism and challenges. It is portrayed as  "The True Story of an American Legend," and, yes, there were plenty of ugly things happening during that era. 

To tell the story correctly, it is important to get it right - especially when you name names!

In 1947, Fritz Ostermueller was a 40 year old veteran left handed pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the film, he is portrayed by Linc Hand. Hand's physical likeness to Ostermeuller is uncanny.....except that the Fritz was a southpaw in real life and a right hander in the movie.

Here's what happened in the movie. Robinson steps up to bat in the first inning and is promptly hit IN THE HEAD by an Ostermueller pitch. Here's what really happened: Robinson came to bat in the first inning and was hit by a pitched ball ON HIS WRIST. The movie also has Ostermueller uttering a nasty racist slur at Robinson. IT NEVER HAPPENED! You would think that if the movie's producers wanted to tell a story about racism, why would they need to make things up? 

Here are some facts: When Robinson was at bat, he stood close to the plate. You can see this in REAL pictures of Robinson.  It is customary for pitchers to "brush back" batters who are standing too close to the plate. Jackie Robinson led the National League in 1947 and 1948 in being hit by pitches. Racism or crowding the plate? Probably a little of each. Ostermueller was a professional, pitching for 15 seasons in the Major Leagues.  He died in 1957. His daughter has a newspaper clipping where her dad voiced his concern over facing Robinson. Sherrill Ostermueller-Duesterhaus, is upset that her father was unfairly portrayed, in the film, as a racist.

What's that smell?
Yes, it smells like a lawsuit!

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