Rickey, Waner enter Hall of Fame as part of Class of 1967
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“Rickey always has been a stride ahead of the field,” wrote Tom Meany in 1950. “Branch devised the farm system and grew his own flag winners.”
Rickey took his ideas to Brooklyn following the 1942 season, and quickly helped establish the Dodgers as one of baseball’s most consistent teams. In Brooklyn, Rickey embarked on another quest to bring long-lasting change to the National Pastime when he integrated the game.
Rickey signed Jackie Robinson prior to the 1946 season and brought him to the majors in 1947, breaking the color barrier that had existed in the big leagues for decades. Robinson won the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 1947 and opened the door for African-American players – as well as Latin American players – to follow.
With the foundation that Rickey built, the Dodgers won six NL pennants and the 1955 World Series from 1947-56 – and maintained their status as one of baseball’s marquee teams after moving to Los Angeles in 1958.
“To say that Branch Rickey has the finest mind ever brought to the game of baseball is to damn with the faintest of praise, like describing Isaac Stern as a fiddler,” wrote Red Smith. “From the day in 1903 when Branch signed as a catcher for LeMars, Iowa, at $150 a month, he was a giant among pygmies. If his goal had been the Supreme Court of the Untied States instead of the Cincinnati Reds, he would have been a giant on the bench.”
Rickey passed away on Dec. 9, 1965.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum