Branch Rickey was
Branch Rickey was “a man of strange complexities, not to mention downright contradictions,” wrote the New York Times’s John Drebinger. The great decision to break baseball’s policy of excluding blacks, for which he is justly praised, has, in recent decades, tended to overwhelm the highly negative image he had earned before that decision. He went from “El Cheapo” to moral beacon in just a few years, and richly deserved each characterization.
He was deeply religious, sowing biblical quotations and religious axioms much as Johnny Appleseed sowed apple seeds.
He was a tightwad. “Rickey believes in economy in everything except his own salary,” wrote the New York Daily Mirror’s Dan Parker. Daily News columnist Jimmy Powers tagged him El Cheapo after Rickey dumped a number of the Dodgers’ older, and better-known, players soon after taking over.
He was politically and socially conservative. He preached on the temperance circuit as a young man and, as an older man, would regularly attack Communism, Communists, and liberal politicians.
He preached courage and honesty, yet he was devious. Bob Broeg of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch dubbed him Branch Richelieu. When a decision by Commissioner Kenesaw Landis deprived Rickey