Sunday, March 20, 2011

New book profiles Branch Rickey, the man who signed Jackie Robinson

The Albany Times Union has the lowdown today on a new biography of the legendary baseball genius Branch Rickey, written by Jimmy Breslin.

Rickey was the Brooklyn Dodgers executive who signed Jackie Robinson to break the major league color barrier:

Breslin's new book, "Branch Rickey: An American Life," tells a classic American bootstrap story. With belief in hard work and faith in God and in the equality of all men, Branch Rickey climbed from poverty to success in the quintessential American industry: baseball. Breslin shows us that when we talk about Jackie's courage, we have to acknowledge Rickey's courage, too.

Robinson is, of course, a role model, for anyone who has to face being a "first." Branch Rickey is also a model, showing us that making a profit doesn't have to be separate from making social change.

Few of us will have the opportunity to enact history in the dramatic way that Jackie Robinson did. But we all have opportunities to be like Branch Rickey, who ensured the moment could happen.

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