June 28, 1907 – In baseball history when one hears the name of Branch Rickey, the thoughts of the bravery of a brilliant baseball executive who inked Jackie Robinson to a deal where he would play in the MLB for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The knowledgeable sports historian might also know that Rickey introduced the batting helmet to baseball, created the framework for the modern minor league farm system, played professional football for the Shelby Blues of the “Ohio League”, and encouraged the Major Leagues to expand to new markets with adding teams through his involvement in the proposed Continental League. What you might not know is that Branch was an MLB player once.
Admittedly not a very good one as he only played from 1905 through 1907. On this day in history, Nationals stole a record 13 bases off New York Highlanders catcher Branch Rickey. After some struggles playing such as this outing, Branch Rickey returned to college, where he learned about administration.
Returning to MLB in 1913, Rickey embarked on a successful managing and executive career with the St. Louis Browns, St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Pittsburgh Pirates.
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