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Man who knew Jackie Robinson shares stories with seniors

By Meghan Packer, Reporter, MPacker@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 25 2013 04:06:50 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 25 2013 05:56:12 PM CDT

People at the Lehigh County Senior Center got quite a treat Wednesday.

People at the Lehigh County Senior Center had a history lesson Wednesday.

A group watched the movie 42, the Jackie Robinson story. After watching the movie, they heard from Bernie Durant, who knew Robinson.

Durant, who grew up in Philadelphia and now lives in South Whitehall Township, pitched a few years for Pittsburgh's farm team, the Waco Pirates. He met and stayed in touch with Robinson over the years.

"Jackie was just one super guy," recalled Durant when he sat down with 69 News. "He used to come to Philadelphia every now and then. I'd meet him, you know. I'd go to New York and we'd see a game, something like that. We'd get together with our wives and have dinner."

"Regular guy," said Durant  "He was such a gentleman and very, very smart."

Durant showed a picture of himself with Robinson when Robinson spoke at a NAACP event in Allentown in 1972, the same year Robinson died.

"I didn't have an idea how much longer he was going to live. Had I known that, I would have called him and said, 'Hey Jackie, I got the pictures, you know what I mean, autograph one for me,'" said Durant.

He praises the movie 42.

"The movie's fantastic, Durant said. "The kid playing the part, since I knew Jackie so well, he didn't have all the mannerisms, but he's close and he looks like him. It brings back a lot of memories."