Wesley Branch Rickey (The Mahatma)

Branch Rickey: Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman


branch rickey st louis browns 1914. by charles m. conlon

It was in 1903 when Branch Rickey, then a coach for the Ohio Wesleyan University baseball team had to console his star player, Charles Thomas when a hotel in South Bend Indiana refused him a room because he was black. Rickey found Thomas sobbing rubbing his hands and repeating Rickey attempted to console his friend saying

We can thank men like Charles Thomas, Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey for this and pray that we who remain, Black and White, Asian, and Latin American, as well as all others who make up our great nation will never relinquish the gains that have been won at such a great cost.

Branch Rickey, a very important man in baseball's history!

Branch Rickey
Battling Bishops
Career information
College Ohio Wesleyan University
University of Michigan
Career history
As coach
1904–1905 Allegheny College
1907–1908 Ohio Wesleyan University
As player
1902–1903 Shelby Blues
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch U.S. Army
Years of service 1917–1918
Rank Major
Unit Chemical Warfare Service
1st Gas Regiment
Battles/wars World War I
Western Front

Jackie Robinson & Branch Rickey

Branch Rickey shook the foundations of America when he signed Jackie Robinson to a Major League deal in 1947, a year before President Truman desegregated the military and years before Jim Crow laws were overturned in many states.

My friends, in just a few days pitchers and catchers report for the 2015 Baseball Spring Training and it is time to reflect again on how Branch Rickey’s signing of Jackie Robinson helped advance the Civil Rights of Blacks in the United States. What Rickey did was a watershed, and though it took time for every team in the Major Leagues to integrate, the last being the Boston Red Sox in 1959, a dozen years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.