Branch Rickey

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Branch Rickey

Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman

Lee Lowenfish

728 pages
18 photographs, index

Paperback

April 2009

978-0-8032-2453-7

$26.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

He was not much of a player and not much more of a manager, but by the time Branch Rickey (1881–1965) finished with baseball, he had revolutionized the sport—not just once but three times. In this definitive biography of Rickey—the man sportswriters dubbed “The Brain,” “The Mahatma,” and, on occasion, “El Cheapo”—Lee Lowenfish tells the full and colorful story of a life that forever changed the face of America’s game.
 
As the mastermind behind the Saint Louis Cardinals from 1917 to 1942, Rickey created the farm system, which allowed small-market clubs to compete with the rich and powerful. Under his direction in the 1940s, the Brooklyn Dodgers became truly the first “America’s team.” By signing Jackie Robinson and other black players, he single-handedly thrust baseball into the forefront of the civil rights movement. Lowenfish evokes the peculiarly American complex of God, family, and baseball that informed Rickey’s actions and his accomplishments. His book offers an intriguing, richly detailed portrait of a man whose life is itself a crucial chapter in the history of American business, sport, and society.

Author Bio

Lee Lowenfish, a historian, journalist, broadcaster, and jazz commentator, is the author of The Imperfect Diamond: A History of Baseball’s Labor Wars.

Table of Contents

Introduction
List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations
Prologue
PART I. THE MAKING OF A BASEBALL BRAIN, 1899-1918
1. Diamond in the Rough
2. From Catcher to Coach
3. Branch Rickey and the St. Louis Browns
4. "War Overshadows Everything"
PART II. THE ST. LOUIS PRIME OF BRANCH RICKEY, 1919-1942
5. Necessity Is the Mother of Invention
6. Years of Contention and Frustration
7. That Championship Season
8. The Near-dynastic Years and a Place in Who's Who
9. Another Championship Season and Then Decline
10. Prelude to the Gashouse Gang
11. The Triumph of the Gashouse Gang
12. Years of Frustration
13. More Years of Loss, and Farewells to Dizzy Dean and Charley Barrett
14. Going Out on Top
PART III. THE BIRTH OF THE MAHATMA, 1943-1950
15. A Branch Grows in Brooklyn
16. The Secret Path to the "Young Man from the West"
17. An Historic Meeting in Brooklyn
18. Prelude to a Pennant
19. When All Hell Almost Broke Loose
20. When Most of Heaven Rejoiced
21. A Year of Disappointment, Odd Choices, and an Adieu to Leo
22. A Branch Bends in Brooklyn
23. A Branch Is Chopped in Brooklyn
PART IV. "MY GREATEST THRILL IN BASEBALL HASN'T HAPPENED YET," 1951-1965
24. A Branch Doesn't Grow Fast Enough in Pittsburgh
25. Mr. Rickey Prepares to Do the Continental
26. The Continental Dance Card Goes Blank
27. Meet Me in St. Louis, Final Chorus
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Awards

2008 SABR Seymour Medal 
2007 Outstanding Academic Book selection by Choice magazine
 
 

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