Branch Rickey

( 39 )

Overview

The idea of integrating baseball began as a dream in the mind of Branch Rickey. In 1947, as president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, he defied racism on and off the field to bring Jackie Robinson into the major leagues, changing the sport and the nation forever. Rickey's is the classic American tale of a poor boy from Ohio whose deep-seated faith and dogged work ethic took him to the pinnacle of success, earning him a place in the Hall of Fame and in history.

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Branch Rickey: A Life

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Overview

The idea of integrating baseball began as a dream in the mind of Branch Rickey. In 1947, as president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, he defied racism on and off the field to bring Jackie Robinson into the major leagues, changing the sport and the nation forever. Rickey's is the classic American tale of a poor boy from Ohio whose deep-seated faith and dogged work ethic took him to the pinnacle of success, earning him a place in the Hall of Fame and in history.

Bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Jimmy Breslin is a legend in his own right. In his inimitable anecdotal style, he provides a lively portrait of Rickey and his times, including such colorful characters as Dodgers' owner George V. McLaughlin (dubbed "George the Fifth" for his love of Scotch); diamond greats Leo Durocher, George Sisler, and Dizzy Dean; and Robinson himself, a man whose remarkable talent was equaled only by his resilience in the face of intolerance. Breslin brings to life the heady days when baseball emerged as the national pastime in this inspiring biography of a great American who remade a sport—and dreamed of remaking a country.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Quite simply, this is the author-subject-series matchup of the month. Veteran journalist Jimmy Breslin is one of the great raconteurs of writing; a man with an inimitable for capturing a man or a moment with a telling story. Baseball owner Branch Rickey is the man who brought Jackie Robinson, the first African American player to the major leagues. And the Penguin Lives series presents biography at its best and most succinct. Not since Ticker to Evers to Chance has there been such synergy.

David Oshinsky
Much has been written about [Rickey's] role in the integration of major league baseball, and Jimmy Breslin's slim biography, Branch Rickey, breaks no new factual ground. What Breslin has done, with his usual gritty perception, is revive a story of enormous consequence…Breslin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, is a master of the spare narrative.
—The New York Times
Steven Levingston
[Breslin's] effort is less a full biography than an anecdotal retelling of Rickey's plot to knock down the door to the all-white club of the major leagues…It's a slim book, but one pauses over its many bold turns of phrase and mood-setting riffs…Breslin brings his trademark grit and grace to the combustible issue of civil rights in baseball.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Pulitzer Prize–winning Breslin offers this slim biography on baseball manager and executive Branch Rickey, a man Breslin refers to as a “Great American.” What results is a well-rounded look at a man who not only reformed competitive sports but also influenced the norms of society by helping Jackie Robinson break baseball’s color barrier. Born to a tight-knit family in Ohio in the late 19th century, Rickey’s career as a major league player didn’t last long (as a catcher, he once allowed 13 stolen bases in a game), so he graduated from law school and became the manager of the St. Louis Browns. Yet his most far-reaching achievements happened decades later during his time in Brooklyn, when he shook baseball to its foundations by bringing Robinson to the Dodgers. Rickey as general manager knew there would be backlash and Robinson would be subject to rampant racism, but he was undeterred and never stooped to the level of those who attempted to sabotage his work. As he later told a group of students, “racial extractions and color hues and forms of worship become secondary to what men can do.” Breslin’s gift for easy-to-read yet hard-hitting prose will touch even those who aren’t baseball fans. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Breslin's gift for easy-to-read yet hard-hitting prose will touch even those who aren't baseball fans." —-Publishers Weekly
Library Journal
Pulitzer Prize winner Breslin reveals much about the development of baseball, the Dodgers' last years in Brooklyn, and the struggle to overcome the national pastime's racism while tracing the life, deeds, and some (but not all) of Branch Rickey's warts. A breezy read, this "Penguin Life" is nonetheless insightful, humorous, and biting at times as it traces how the man dubbed "the Mahatma" by sportswriters emerged from obscurity as an Idaho lawyer to develop the baseball farm system, multiple MLB winners, Vero Beach spring training, the scientific teaching of skills, and the MLB expansion that brought New York the Mets. Breslin clearly admires Rickey. Lovers of the author, baseball, and/or Americana will be delighted to relive this trailblazer's life in this superlative gloss, which, owing to brevity, will not replace more extensive Rickey biographies.—G.R.
Kirkus Reviews

This entry in the Penguin Lives series focuses on Branch Rickey's game-changing efforts to bring Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers, shattering baseball's race barrier.

At the age of 80, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Breslin (The Good Rat: A True Story, 2008, etc.) retains his legendary savvy street smarts and crustiness. In a brief volume about a baseball executive, he creates opportunities to crack wise ("Baseball was a sport for hillbillies with great eyesight"), skewer (actress Tallulah Bankhead was "a loud dimwit from Alabama") and appropriately condemn (he blasts baseball journalists of the Robinson era for their unconscionable social blindness and moral retardation). Wesley Branch Rickey (1881–1965), born on an Ohio farm, attended Ohio Wesleyan University, played baseball, made it to the pros (he didn't excel), went to law school and then returned to baseball, where he spent most of the rest of his life as an executive. Breslin credits him for inventing the farm system—a system he compares, fairly crudely, with slavery. The author skims across most of Rickey's career, rightly highlights his efforts to integrate Major League Baseball and shows how the trio of black players Rickey brought to the Dodgers—Robinson, pitcher Don Newcombe, catcher Roy Campanella—elevated the team to elite status. Breslin covers Rickey's final years in a furious few pages, including a stand-alone chapter about legendary black pitcher Satchel Paige. Along the way, we catch glimpses of Rickey's Christian piety, his GOP allegiance and his hand in assembling the 1960 Pirates, a team that defeated the Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series with a home run by second baseman Bill Mazeroski, the last player Rickey had scouted. Breslin ends in 2008 with the election of Barack Obama, an event he alluded to on page one.

Quirky, idiosyncratic, oddly balanced and surpassingly entertaining.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143120476
  • Publisher: Viking Penguin
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Series: Penguin Lives Series
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 302,770
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jimmy Breslin was born in Jamaica, Queens. He is the author of multiple bestselling and critically acclaimed books, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary. He lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 39 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(32)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2011

    great! Read it!

    Easy reading but such a wonderful version of the famous story of Jackie Robinson. Breslin describes the careful campaign Rickey waged to introduce a black into major league baseball. He describes how Rickey wanted to this out of a deep moral conviction that it was the right thing to do and sold it as an important source of increased revenue. The book also describes club owners, the farm system. sports writers and is filled with wonderful stories and insights into the life of baseball,

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 22, 2011

    Not Worth the Money

    To start, you can't tell the story of Robinson and Rickey in 109 pages. The story and the characters are to complex. This book is a disservice to both men and what they did for baseball and this country. Breslin lists a handfull of books worth reading on Branch Rickey. I'm sorry Mr. Breslin, but your book doesn't make the list. Read the intro and pick one of the other books.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2011

    BRESLIN RIDES AGAIN!

    ANY YEAR WITH A BOOK IN IT FROM JIMMY BRESLIN IS A GREAT YEAR. THIS MAKES 2011 A GREAT YEAR. BRANCH RICKEY, THE MAN WHO INTRODUCED JACKIE ROBINSON TO MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL, WAS PARSIMONIOUS, PIOUS AND A BUSINESS MAN AND A BASEBALL ENTREPRENEUR BAR NONE. ASIDE FROM BREAKING THE COLOR LINE, HE DEVELOPED THE FARM TEAM SYSTEM, SPOTTED AND BROUGHT INTO BASEBALL SUCH TALENTS AS SISLER, MAZEROSKI, CAMPY AND OTHERS. WHILE MAKING MONEY HE REMAINED ALL BASEBALL, ALL THE TIME. MESSR. BRESLIN DOES RICKEY PROUD, BRINGNG OUT HIS HUMANITY AND HIS DEVOTION TO THE GAME, WHILE SHEDDING HIS REPORTER'S HIGH POWERED LIGHT ON BASEBALL AS IT WAS THEN. FOR ALL THIS, THE AUTHOR IS GIVEN A WELL DESERVED TIP O' THE CHAPEUAX: AND THIS KUDO...IF BRESLIN WROTE THE PHONE BOOK, I WOULD BUY & READ THE PHONE BOOK!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    Stormheart

    Takes Sandkit in and said this is where you sleep. Stormheart mewed. But daddy are you going to sleep with me? She gushed. No i cant im sapose to sleep with the other warriors. He mewed and paded away

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    NURSERY

    A large area lined with bramblesaround the edge, but moss on the inside edg of them. Where expecting and nursing queens and sleep, and spend most of their time. A pile of mossballs sits in a corner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Well researched, well written. A joy for any baseball fan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2012

    Chi

    Be online!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    Leafshine

    She walked in with two juicy thrushes.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    G

    Greyfang sighs.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    Dreampaw

    "Cinderfire?" She meows~Dreampaw*

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2012

    Jeyfeather

    Ahh darn dogs cats maybe they can help

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    Nightpaw

    I nod at flowermist then turn to my real sibblingsm the ones i know. "I know. Im mad too."~nightpaw

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2012

    Bluekit

    Back. She runs in circles, but all you see in a blur.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2012

    Lilybreeze

    She curls up under a nearby bush and quickly falls asleep. Lilybreeze

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2012

    BLUELEAF,GARDIAN CAT

    Prophicy: a dark era will come for this clan but ones that do dream witll dream and of that dream will be a paw. So comes a time that will come for old and young to come together to save there hopes but all will dream of the paw.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    Amiti

    "Barkstar, I need to speak with you." The sandy tom meowed anxiously. "And Cinderfire too."

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    F

    Emberpaw frowns and rolls her eyes. "Talk about it. What are we, chopped crowfood?" She mutters to her littermates.

    Rainkit:
    He shuffles his paws. "Hi!!! Im Rainkit!"

    Thunderpaw sighs and walks over to Swiftpaw Nightpaw and Emberpaw. "Thunderpaw." He nods his head.
    Frostpaw looks embarrassed. "Im uh... im blind."
    Flowerpaw just sits there.

    (Sorry guys but Shadowfox and Sandthorn are locked out. Move to *tree* first few reults.=[ ...)

    Barkstar + Emberpaw

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    Cinderfire/Swiftpaw

    Cinderfire padded over to Dreampaw." Yeah?"


    .:///////Cinderfire\\\\\\\:.

    Swiftpaw looked at Flowermist." Hiya."


    <••••Swiftpaw••••>

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    Tom to everyone

    Is sweetberry still here?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    Letter

    Dear Branch clan,

    If anyone finds this, tell brachleg plus .ufstar that i miss them both. Also, tell branchleg to meet me at wintry third result rvrey night.

    Branchlegs mate,
    Deputey Thunderfoot

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews

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