December 6, 2019

Rickey was Right On

August 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

In teaming with Jackie Robinson to break the color barrier, Branch Rickey helped make Barack Obama’s presidency possible. That’s one reason why Jimmy Breslin decided to write a biography on Rickey. One could surmise Rickey’s decision to team with Robinson was about morality. After all, he broke the news in a pulpit. In truth, this was about state (ie. money), not the church.

Read “Branch Rickey” because:

1. You will learn where Rickey adopted his views on race.

As a student coach at Ohio Wesleyan University, Rickey had an experience that changed him forever. Rickey later heard Booker T. Washington address the college Y about the condition of blacks in America. Never before had he heard a black man speak on the topic. With the St. Louis Cardinals, Rickey tried to make room for blacks to sit in the shade, but his owner would have none of it. One more reason for Rickey to bolt St. Louis for Brooklyn.

2. Rickey was a man with not just one plan but a continuous stream of plans.

The book begins with Rickey making preparations to unveil his new vision to break the color barrier. Rickey, a staunch Republican, resolved to let the Dodgers’ banker, George V. McLaughlin, champion the Democrats on this particular day. Rickey deliberated about how to share his news with McLaughlin. It had to be done with the right words and inflexion. No, get the point out, man. After he completed the first step of his six-point plan to break the color barrier, Rickey devised how to get others on board. How would he get the voice of the Dodgers, Red Barber, to stir up all of Brooklyn before either of them knew who this player would be?

3. Breslin puts you in the middle of meetings between Rickey and Robinson.

“Mister Rickey, this is Jack Roosevelt Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs. I think he is the Brooklyn kind of player,” Scout Clyde Sukeforth said (64, Branch). Neither Rickey or Robinson blinked. What Rickey said next left Robinson speechless.

Nobody reports better than Jimmy Breslin. Read his account of Branch Rickey if that means stealing home to do it.

Sam Miller is a graduate of the University of Illinois where he worked with various teams in sports information and received the Freedom Forum – NCAA Sports Journalism Scholarship for his achievements. During the 2009 season, Miller served as communications intern for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate. Prior to that, he worked as a communications intern for USA Basketball and as an associate reporter for MLB.com.

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