Ex-minor leaguer Jasha Balcom brought his baseball skills to a stunt role
The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Jasha Balcom out of high school, but he went to college and played for the University of Georgia, instead. The Chicago Cubs drafted him out of college, and he went on to play for the Arizona League Cubs, the Boise Hawks, the Peoria Chiefs and the South Georgia Peanuts (where he hit .304 and stole 34 bases in 2007).
And six years after his final pro game, Balcom has finally made it to the majors to play for ... the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Or, at least, he made it with a film version of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Balcom is the stunt double for the action scenes in "42," the film biography of Jackie Robinson opening nationwide this weekend. That makes him the second-greatest player to ever portray Robinson in a biopic. The first-greatest? Jackie played himself in "The Jackie Robinson Story" in 1950.
"I'm humbled for the opportunity to wear that uniform and to portray my dad's childhood hero," says Balcom, 30, who owns a baseball instruction clinic in the Atlanta suburbs. "My dad passed away in 2005 when I was playing with the Cubs, so it's personal to be a part of this film, and with what I do every day, teaching kids and helping them become better ballplayers. Kids that I've worked with, and will work with, will have the opportunity to see this film because their coach is in it.
"I can say, 'Go see this film because this man Jackie Robinson -- not just for what he did for baseball and for the country but look what he went through. He persevered. And if he could do it, you can make it through the things you're going to go through, too.'"
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