Wesley Branch Rickey

NAME: Wesley Branch Rickey

BORN: December 20, 1881


born...Stockdale, Ohio (Scioto County)


graduated, Ohio Wesleyan, 1904

OCCUPATION: baseball manager, baseball executive

DIED: December 9, 1965


Rickey was a baseball innovator.

Starting as their manager in 1917, Rickey led the St. Louis Cardinals to six National League pennants. He started the farm team system for professional baseball in 1919 and, as a Cardinal's executive, perfected it through the 1920's and 1930's.

He later served as general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. He helped break the baseball color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson with the Brooklyn Dodgers on October 23, 1945. Robinson made his Dodgers debut in 1947. Rickey's motivation for integration had roots in his coaching days at Ohio Wesleyan, when one of his players, Charles Thomas, was turned away at a hotel in South Bend, Indiana.

While with the Pirates during the 1950's, he introduced the use of batting helmets.

Rickey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967.

In July 1999, ESPN selected him as the most influential sports figure of the twentieth century.