Jasha Balcom takes part in baseball activity almost every day as owner of the Hitters Box youth training facility in Duluth, Ga. But he didn’t expect a career awakening.
Balcom, a former College of Charleston outfielder, got that and the accompanying publicity after landing a job as a stunt double for Chadwick Boseman, who plays Jackie Robinson in the hit film “42.”
“Oh, man, it’s been such a great experience,” Balcom said by phone, in between hitting lessons. “Seeing the story of Jackie Robinson being told and just being part of that history and creating new friendships are just great. I learned a lot about Jackie Robinson and learned a lot of things I didn’t know about who he was as a person.”
Balcom, 30, transferred from the College of Charleston to Georgia and was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2003. He played three seasons of minor league baseball.
Balcom grew up in Dublin, Ga., where his father often talked about Robinson, who was born in Cairo, Ga.
“Putting on the cleats, I really wanted to make that come alive,” Balcom said.
He landed the role through a friend in the Cubs organization who had connections to the “42” production. Balcom spent more than two months hanging out at locations in Chattanooga, Macon, Birmingham and Atlanta with actors such as Boseman and Harrison Ford, who plays Brooklyn Dodgers executive Branch Rickey.
“They said I had the look and the size,” said Balcom. “Owning my own business allowed me to get away for the two months they needed me.”
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