Wesley Branch Rickey (December 20, 1881 – December 9, 1965) was an innovative Major League Baseball (MLB) executive elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967. He was perhaps best known for breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier by signing African American player Jackie Robinson, for signing the first Afro-Hispanic superstar, Roberto Clemente, for creating the framework for the modern minor league farm system, for encouraging the Major Leagues to add new teams through his involvement in the proposed Continental League, and for introducing the batting helmet.
Rickey played in MLB for the St. Louis Browns and New York Highlanders from 1905 through 1907. After struggling as a player, Rickey returned to college, where he learned about administration from Philip Bartelme. Returning to MLB in 1913, Rickey embarked on a successful managing and executive career with the St. Louis Browns, the St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cardinals elected him to their team Hall of Fame in 2014.
Rickey also had a career in the sport of American football, as a player for the professional Shelby Blues and as a coach at Ohio Wesleyan University and Allegheny College. His many achievements and deep Christian faith earned him the nickname "the Mahātmā."
By Dean Hanley
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