Longtime Brooklyn Dodgers’ president Branch Ricky was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame after a change of eligibility rules 47-years-ago today.
Rickey, historically know for being a main contributor in breaking the color barrier, spent 26 years at the helm of baseball presidency. He spent 17 years with the St. Louis Cardinals before making the switch to the Dodgers, where he would spend the remainder of his career.
Rickey brought league-legend Jackie Robinson into the Major League Baseball despite the harsh realities of racial segregation. The courageous combination of Rickey and Robinson positively contributed to the Civil Rights Movement between 1955 and 1968.
The former Dodgers president scouted Robinson during his UCLA years, where he was a multi-sport athlete. Robinson’s powerful mind and thick skin towards racial prejudice attracted Rickey into signing him to the Dodgers.
Along with bringing Robinson into the league, Rickey went out on a limb and signed the first Afro-American player in Roberto Clemente. Rickey was also the founder of the farm system.
Rickey also proposed and executed the batting helmet, which reduced concussions and saved lives of many baseball players at all levels. Rickey’s innovative mind has allowed the idea of baseball expansion to become a reality.
He helped lay the foundation for Cuban, Dominican Republic, Mexican and Latin-American talent to improve the quality play of baseball while dually expanding the sport worldwide.
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