“ Baseball people, and that includes myself, are slow to change and accept new ideas. I remember that it took years to persuade them to put numbers on uniforms.”- Branch Rickey Branch Rickey was a very smart man. He was known in the baseball world as possibly one of the greatest innovators the game has ever had. Rickey invented many training devices to develop talent for his team, which would eventually catch on with other major league teams. Some of his more noted creations were batting tees and the farm system (minor league teams affiliated with a major league club). And of course, he was at the forefront of desegregating Major League Baseball with the signing of Jackie Robinson.
“ The greatest untapped reservoir of raw material in the history of our game is the black race.”- Branch Rickey The talk of de-segregating baseball began in 1943, when Rickey met with his banker George V. McLaughlin. After getting McLaughlin’s support, Rickey got the support of his board of directors, all of which would keep the plan secret to anyone outside the Dodger organization. In 1945, Rickey began searching for his perfect player by claiming he was starting a false new Negro League.
“ Ethnic prejudice has no place in sports, and baseball must recognize that truth if it is to maintain stature as a national game.”- Branch Rickey When searching for the right player to integrate baseball, Rickey did not only look at athletic ability. Rickey knew that any black player would face pressure and prejudice, and that to be the first black player in the major leagues, they would have to be able to handle the pressure and not fight back when times were tough. Rickey had found the right man when he discovered Jackie Robinson. Rickey sat down with Robinson for a meeting and brought up all the stressful situations that he might face in the majors. Rickey wanted a player who was not going to fight back, and he had found him in Jackie.
“ It is not the honor that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind.”- Branch Rickey After getting called up to the majors in 1947, Robinson proved that he, as well as other African American baseball players, belonged in Major League Baseball. His achievements under so much pressure and racism, are some of the greatest in American sports history.
Works Consulted "Branch Rickey." BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2010. 26 May. 2010. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/branch_rickey.html Branch Rickey . N.d. nyyfans.com, n.d. Web. 27 May 2010. <http://forums.nyyfans.com/showthread.php?t=67363>. Branch Rickey. N.d. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 27 May 2010. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic-art/54751/52376/Branch-Rickey>. Branch Rickey. N.d. Diversity Champions . Diversity Central, 2006. Web. 27 May 2010. <http://secure.diversitycentral.com/business/ leader_profiles_06_12.html>. Branch Rickey. N.d. Society for American Baseball Research . N.p., 27 Oct. 2006. Web. 26 May 2010. <http://www.sabr.org/sabr.cfm?a=cms,c,1995,34,0>. Ira, Glasser. "Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson: Precursors of Civil Rights Movement." worldandi.com . The World & I, 2000. Web. 26 May 2010. <http://www.worldandi.com/newhome/public/2003/march/mtpub.asp>. Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey. Feb. 1948. Baseball Scrapbooks . Sporting News, 2002. Web. 26 May 2010. <http://www.sportingnews.com/archives/ jackie/photo17.html>.