What Rickey was demanding from Robinson was the same strategy later adopted by Martin Luther King—nonviolent defiance of segregation. Yankees won the game 6-5, but the Dodgers went on to win their only World Series. A quarter-century after breaking the color barrier, Robinson lamented the lack of racial equality in baseball. "use strict";(function(){var insertion=document.getElementById("citation-access-date");var date=new Date().toLocaleDateString(undefined,{month:"long",day:"numeric",year:"numeric"});insertion.parentElement.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(date),insertion)})(); Subscribe to the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. Rickey’s Cardinals won another World Series – with another crop of homegrown players including Hall of Famers Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial – in 1942, his final year with the team. Explanation: It will be hard to earn respect for Robinson, both on and off the field. The life of the man who broke baseball's color barrier. There’s virtually nobody on our side—no owners, no umpires, very few newspapermen. He can put an awful lot of money in our pockets. “But let me tell you, it’s going to take an awful lot of courage.”. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1967. that Branch Rickey was instrumental in introducing batting helmets to big league baseball, helping develop and promote the protective headgear? “You think you can play for Montreal?”. He did seem to know all about the shortstop. The two men were sitting in an office at 215 Montague Street in Brooklyn on the sweltering morning of August 28, 1945. Gary Puckett, singer, songwriter; lead singer of Gary Puckett & The Union Gap ("Woman, Woman"; "Young Girl"). “He’s sold out,” Robinson said of Nixon’s courting of segregationists such as South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond during the 1968 presidential campaign. What happens if the president doesn't accept the election results? They’ll throw bean balls at you, he said. Robinson realized that Rickey was serious, that he sincerely believed baseball should be integrated and that he’d pondered the problem of how to do it. “I’ve investigated you thoroughly, Robinson.”. Baseball icon Babe Ruth set numerous records as a pitcher and slugging outfielder. Rickey found the right player in October 1945: Jackie Robinson, an infielder. He signed Negro League star Jackie Robinson to a minor league contract in 1945, and paved the way for Robinson’s major league debut on April 15, 1947. Branch Rickey was a baseball executive known for his groundbreaking 1945 decision to bring Jackie Robinson into the major leagues, thereby breaking the color barrier. “Robinson, I’m looking for a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back,” explained Rickey. The Brown Dodgers story was a ruse. “If I had a room jammed with trophies, awards and citations, and a child of mine came into that room and asked what I had done in defense of black people and decent whites fighting for freedom, and I had to tell that child that I had kept quiet, that I had been timid, I would have to mark myself a total failure at the whole business of living,” Robinson wrote. Third baseman Billy Cox, who was at bat, watches Jackie slide. The eyes of Abraham Lincoln gazed down from a portrait on the paneled walls inside the executive offices of the Brooklyn Dodgers Baseball Club as Branch Rickey fire-hosed a torrent of racial slurs at Jackie Robinson. Rickey finished out his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, serving as vice president, general manager and chairman of the board. By the early 1930s, Rickey’s investments paid off as the Cardinals, led by homegrown talent including Pepper Martin, Joe Medwick and brothers Dizzy and Paul Dean, won three pennants and two World Series from 1930 to 1934. He won Rookie of the Year. It was in the front office where Rickey found his calling. Adding to his legacy, Rickey is portrayed by Harrison Ford in the 2013 film 42, which depicts the story of how Rickey and Jackie Robinson changed the baseball landscape forever in the 1940s. Anticipating the harsh treatment that Robinson would receive from fans and opposing players, Rickey told Robinson he was looking for a man who “had guts enough not to fight back.”. 2 See answers juanp200626 juanp200626 Answer: A. Baseball legend Jackie Robinson poses at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, January 23, 1971. He also served as the president of the Continental League, which never made it to the field but spurred the first round of big league expansion in 1961 and 1962. Jackie Robinson at a protest in Birmingham, Alabama. Jackie Robinson may have kept silent in the face of racial bigotry in his first two seasons after breaking baseball’s color barrier, but after 1949 he was quiet no longer and became a powerful voice for civil rights. With this huge success behind him, Rickey left the Cardinals in 1943 and signed on with the Brooklyn Dodgers as president and general manager. Battleground Tracker: Biden leads in Michigan and Nevada, race tied in Iowa, A behind-the-scenes look at how mail-in ballots are processed, With more mail-in ballots, officials urge patience on election night, Americans and the right to vote: Why it's not easy for everyone, Why some mail-in ballots are rejected and how to make sure your vote counts. Jackie Robinson is seen in his basketball uniform while attending the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.”. “Above all, you cannot fight back. https://www.biography.com/athlete/branch-rickey. Robinson's success led other owners to seek talented Black players, and by 1952, there were 150 Black players in organized baseball. A fish tank gurgled in a corner. Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc.All rights reserved. “Branch, especially after I was no longer in the sports spotlight, treated me like a son.". They’ll taunt you and attack you. Robinson wouldn’t get a chance to see that racial barrier fall, however, as he died nine days later. Amidst racial slurs, objects thrown at him from the crowd and even death threats, Robinson excelled on the diamond and went on to win National League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Awards during his career. Margo Kidder, actress; best known for playing Lois Lane in four Superman movies between 1978 and 1987. Find out more about how we use your information in our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. An odd pair of portraits hung on a wall: Abraham Lincoln and Leo Durocher—the 16th president of the United States and the current manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Great Emancipator and The Lip. Ten months later, President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981, desegregating the United States armed forces. Rickey, are you looking for a Negro who is afraid to fight back?” asked the young diamond star. Between 1906 and 1907, Rickey was catching for the St. Louis Browns and the New York Yankees, compiling an underwhelming .239 batting average, which would become his lifetime average, as his spot behind the plate for the Yankees would be his last as a player. (Credit: Library of Congress). His last public appearance proved the true measure of a man not prone to bite his tongue. Branch Rickey was born on December 20, 1881, in Stockdale, Ohio, and was raised in a strict religious setting—one that would become a distinguishing trait of his later baseball career. He knew that Robinson was an excellent hitter, fielder, bunter and base stealer for the Monarchs and that he’d been a football, basketball and track star at UCLA. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. While Rickey's influence on the game of baseball at this point was important, what he would do while with the Dodgers would go down not only in sports history, but American history. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. His hair turned gray prematurely. “It occurred to me that if I let myself get trapped in a room with Rickey, there was a strong possibility that he would still have the players I wanted, as well as my promissory note, and I would end up with two guys I had never heard of,” said Browns owner Bill Veeck. Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente became the first Latin American player to collect 3,000 career hits before his death in a plane crash. Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot and killed by an Alabama state trooper in 1965; his death inspired a civil rights demonstration that led to the Voting Rights Act. “If I say he plays, he plays. The Hall of Famer wrote in his 1972 autobiography “Never Had It Made” that he had “believed in payback, retaliation” from the time he was 8 years old and a neighborhood girl called him the vilest of racial epithets. (National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum), Branch Rickey (pictured above) was concerned with the public’s perception of those who did not serve as they would be distinguishable from colleagues who were sporting the “ruptured duck” patch (National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum), Branch Rickey helped build Dodger teams that included Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese and Roy Campanella. Rickey brought his innovative spirit with him to Brooklyn. Rickey had heard the reports that Robinson was a “racial agitator” but believed he would have been considered “a competitor” had his skin tone been paler. Robinson didn’t move. “What I don’t know is whether you have the guts.”. But Clyde Sukeforth, the Dodger scout who witnessed this meeting, recalled that the look on Robinson’s face was ferocious: “His eyes had a lot of sparks in them, I can tell you that.” When Rickey finished his performance, his shirt was soaked with sweat. Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier when he became the first Black athlete to play Major League Baseball after joining the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Brooklyn Dodger baseball star Jackie Robinson holding his young son Jackie Jr. on his lap as he sits with his wife Rachel on front steps of their home in Brooklyn, July 1, 1949. He signed Negro League star Jackie Robinson to a minor league contract in 1945, and paved the way for Robinson’s major league debut on April 15, 1947. U.S. sees over 69,000 new virus cases – most in a single day since July. To subscribe, click here. Former baseball star Jackie Robinson carries a placard as he joins pickets at the construction site of the Down State Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York City, August 2, 1963. Some fans and sportswriters began to turn on the Dodgers star as a result. He encouraged the team to use batting cages, pitching machines and batting helmets and foreshadowed the modern day sabermetric movement by hiring a full-time statistical analyst. Baseball legend Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's hallowed mark of 714 home runs and finished his career with numerous big league records. “I think I can play the game, Mr. Rickey,” Robinson said, a little peeved by the question. The Braves won 4-3. All Rights Reserved. The Dodgers won the pennant. He never expected to live long enough to see the integration of baseball, and now this man was offering to make him the first black player in the major leagues. Rickey’s life in baseball began as a player for the St. Louis Browns and New York Highlanders from 1905-07. The Veterans Commitee elected Lloyd Waner and Branch Rickey to the Hall of Fame in 1967. Rickey began acting out the insults he knew Robinson would face.