Branch Rickey

A Biography, rev. ed.

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About the Book

Has any sport executive had as many words written about him as Branch Rickey? A one-time catcher, Rickey managed the St. Louis Browns and Cardinals at the end of the deadball era before serving as vice president of the Dodgers and general manager of the Pirates. Possessed of one of the most creative minds in the game’s long history, Rickey made early use of statistical analysis, pioneered the farm system, and pressed for the expansion of major league baseball. But he is best known for integrating organized baseball, signing Jackie Robinson to a contract at a time when the U.S. armed forces were still segregated and the Civil Rights movement was years away. A courageous move, the signing also stands as proof of Rickey’s foresight; by tapping the Negro Leagues, he enlarged the pool of exploitable talent. Soon after, major league ties to the talent-rich Caribbean were strengthened, and years later scouts sign players from Asia and all over the globe.
Based on nearly one hundred of interviews and vast amounts of research, including exclusive access to Rickey’s own papers, Branch Rickey was originally published in 1982. It still stands as the definitive biography of the legendary executive. The McFarland edition includes updates and revisions, new photographs, a foreword by Branch B. Rickey, and a new preface.

About the Author(s)

Murray Polner is the author or editor of 15 books, and his articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Monthly, Commonweal, and The Nation. He lives in Great Neck, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Murray Polner
Foreword by Branch B. Rickey
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 280
Bibliographic Info: 19 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2643-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Branch B. Rickey      1

Preface to the First Edition      7

Preface to the Revised Edition      9

CHAPTER ONE      13

CHAPTER TWO      29

CHAPTER THREE      40

CHAPTER FOUR      55

CHAPTER FIVE      64

CHAPTER SIX      92

CHAPTER SEVEN      110

CHAPTER EIGHT      124

CHAPTER NINE      133

CHAPTER TEN      162

CHAPTER ELEVEN      189

CHAPTER TWELVE      193

CHAPTER THIRTEEN      221

Epilogue      257

A Bibliographic Note      259

Index      265

Book Reviews & Awards

“interesting…valuable”—SABR Bibliography Committee Newsletter; “significant”—Sports Collectors Digest; “Murray Polner’s Branch Rickey manages to overcome the genre’s limitations; it is a vivid portrait of an engaging, American original—a man whose radical innovations and commanding presence dominated baseball from 1903 until his retirement in 1965.”—David Seideman, The New Republic; “With thorough reporting and exclusive access to Rickey’s papers, housed at the Library of Congress, and just  recently made available to the public, Polner offers an examination of Rickey as complex as Red Smith’s view of him: ‘player, manager, executive, lawyer, preacher, horse-trader, spellbinder, innovator, husband and father and grandfather, sociologist, crusader, sharper, father confessor, checker shark, friend and fighter.’”—William Gildea, The Washington Post; “If you read one baseball book this year, make it this one!”—Maury Allen; “Outstanding…will brighten any baseball library!”—Chattanooga Times; “Superb…quite simply one of the finest baseball books ever!”—Raleigh News and Observer; “With perspective and obviously diligent research, Murray Polner gives us a fine and worthwhile biography, and I applaud him.”— Roger Kahn.