Reggie is an impactful documentary that details both the immense success of Reginald Jackson and the racism he and other black baseball players endured.
Directed by Alexandria Stapleton, we review the Amazon Prime Video 2023 documentary film Reggie which was released on March 24, 2023.
Reggie is a documentary on Amazon Prime Video that came out on March 24. Directed by Alexandria Stapleton, it stars Baseball Hall of Fame right fielder Reginald Jackson as he details his journey to become a baseball legend.
The documentary starts with praising how Reginald Jackson provided the thrills and leadership to bring the Yankees to the top of the baseball world. It depicts Jackson’s journey from striking out and almost giving up on his dream to going to the big leagues, attending his first World Series in 1972, and winning the 1977 World Series.
We see footage of him dominating on the baseball field, but the documentary takes us beyond that.
In Reggie Jackson’s time, the stadium was divided into “colored” and “white” seats. The documentary highlights how the world was full of racism. If you were black, you were labeled as less than others. Reggie references the boycotts of professional athletes because of institutional racism.
We see Jackson speak with former Major League Baseball player Hank Aaron. They discuss how baseball has been backward for a long time. They reflect on being unable to stay or eat with their teammates because they were black.
Reggie also features conversations with other MLB stars, including Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers. When Jackson played in Birmingham in the ’60s, segregation was widespread.
With the Kansas City Athletics, it was a dangerous place to be. He couldn’t find a place to stay because apartment complexes would deny him due to his race.
Jackson explains that as a teenager, he wasn’t prepared for the racism that happened in the south. He went to the ballpark every day knowing that his race was a problem to white people.
When he traveled to Oakland, California in 1968, he witnessed protests against police brutality.
He also remembers his clash with athletics owner Charley Finley, who wasn’t paying his players enough. Jackson and other players were furious about this.
Specifically, Curt Flood believed the present system made baseball players slaves and that his contract was in violation of the 13th Amendment, the amendment against slavery.
Is the documentary Reggie good?
The documentary does a powerful job identifying the likeness of Reginald Jackson dominating the baseball world and black athletes taking over more sports in the 1960s and ’70s. It humanizes Jackson and separates him from his career.
He decides to tell his story in his own time, how he sees it. Reflecting on the combination of sport and racism in his career, he describes the pain of being his age knowing that “It hasn’t changed that much.”
Reggie effectively conveys the trauma Jackson experienced throughout his childhood and career. He explained the difficulty of growing up in a white neighborhood.
He was taught to ignore the reality of being black. In his reflections, he also illuminates the experiences of black athletes today and in the past.
To achieve the status and recognition of a white athlete, they had to work extensively harder, even if they were already as good or better.
Reggie contrasts the thrills of baseball with the horrors of racism that haunted Reginald Jackson as he moved up as an athlete. It was an important and necessary choice to highlight the real issues surrounding and impacting him.
The documentary reminds us that his identity was more than an athlete with stats.
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