Photoshop Phriday: Branch Rickey
This week I finished reading Dollar Sign on the Muscle, a book written by Kevin Kerrane about baseball scouting first published in 1984 and reissued in 2013. Kerrane shares a history of scouting and chronicles stories and insights from his year (1981) inside the Philadelphia Phillies. The book talks extensively about Branch Rickey and the impact he had on baseball scouting and player development throughout the 20th century. Before he revolutionized the business of baseball, Rickey spent thee years at Michigan. Rickey’s pro career flamed out in 1910 and he came to Ann Arbor where he enrolled in law school. As if that wasn’t challenging enough Rickey also coached the Michigan baseball team. During his tenure as coach from 1910 to 1913 the team went 69-31-4.
After service in WWI Rickey returned to baseball, this time as the president and manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. He led the Cardinals for almost 25 years and turned them into an annual contender with a deep system of players. Rickey stressed the importance of having an abundance of prospects and began to purchase minor league teams for the Cardinals, in effect creating the farm system that baseball is familiar with today. After leaving the Cardinals he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers where he helped break baseball’s color barrier with the signing of Jackie Robinson. One detail that Dollar Sign on the Muscle left out was Rickey’s love of bread, he even had a picture of his favorite sandwich loaf framed in his office!