At first, former Chattanooga Lookouts pitcher Andy Paul was too tall and too old to land a role as a ballplayer in “42,” but then he kept throwing strikes in the tryouts.
Paul said he asked film stunt coordinator Allan Graf “if I had to get somebody out or if I just needed to throw strikes.”
“He said I needed to throw strikes and let somebody hit it, so I told him to turn over my baseball card and look on the back,” Paul said. “I had no trouble giving up hits.”
Through his pitching skills (or lack thereof), the 41-year-old Paul, who is in medical device sales and occasionally serves as the official scorer at Lookouts games, landed a part in the film as a pitcher with the Montreal Royals, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ minor league team that Jackie Robinson played on for a season before joining the big-league club.
In the movie, Paul throws a pitch in a spring-training game that’s hit between first and second base, where Robinson (played by Chadwick Boseman) makes a diving catch and doubles a runner off first.
When Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey (played by Harrison Ford) is seen discussing Robinson’s defensive gem, a celebratory Paul runs past him in the background.
“I probably spent two full weeks of my life working on this,” the 6-foot-4 Paul said, “and it’s probably a total of 4 and one-half seconds. Five seconds, tops. I would definitely do it again, though. It was fun seeing how they made it, and it was cool being near Harrison Ford.”
Paul never made it past Double-A during his playing career from 1992 to 2000, though he did compete in Triple-A spring-training games with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1996 and the Cincinnati Reds in ’98.
“That’s kind of the joke,” Paul said. “Even in the movies I couldn’t make the major leagues.”
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...