Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday’s Quote: Regrettably unsung

c/o Chin Musik
Earlier today, all Major League baseball players wore #42 in commemoration of Jackie Robinson “breaking the color barrier.” Yet each piece I came across failed to mention Branch Rickey the man who made Robinson’s barrier-shattering event possible.

A rather insignificant ball player who lasted 10 seasons with the St. Louis Browns (now Baltimore Orioles) and the New York Highlanders (now Yankees) despite a flimsy .239 career batting average, Wesley Branch Rickey made his name as an executive. Though best known for signing Robinson through no coercion but his own conscience, Rickey is also responsible for drafting the first Hispanic player (Roberto Clemente) and standardizing the minor league farm system which, for decades, was notoriously unfavorable to its players.

The majority of fans today may not know about Branch Rickey. Judging from the way his memory has been handled, others might say that his contributions to the game are mere footnotes. Jackie Robinson himself would have disagreed.


“I realized how much our relationship had deepened after I left baseball. It was that later relationship that made me feel almost as if I had lost my own father. Branch Rickey, especially after I was no longer in the sports spotlight, treated me like a son.”
~ from I Never Had it Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson by Jackie Robinson and Alfred Duckett

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