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Updated Apr 23, 2013 - 7:33 am

Arizona Diamondbacks, MLB taking kids to see '42'

PHOENIX -- Hundreds of Valley kids will be treated to a free screening of "42" next month, courtesy of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Major League Baseball.

"42" focuses on Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in baseball in 1946 when he became the first black player in the league.

"He probably meant more to our sport than any player in history," said Arizona Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall. "It's important that we teach today's youth what Robinson meant to the sport but to the nation as well."

Hall said the team will treat about 500 Valley eighth to 12th graders to a private screening of the movie on Friday, May 17.

"The students will be selected through the Boys & Girls Clubs which we have reached out to. We've reached out to four clubs and they're interested in participating and, if we get more kids on board, we will expand the program."

Hall is on the Major League Baseball task force to help create more interest and opportunities for young African-Americans to become involved in the sport.

"We've seen the number of African-Americans playing baseball on the decline. Right now it's about 8.5 percent of the players and that's down from the height of 19 percent in 1986."

Social media will play a big role when the Diamondbacks take the kids to see "42."

"Once they've seen the movie we would like them to reach out via Facebook and Twitter about what Jackie Robinson means to them," said Hall.

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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