Viking/Penguin Lives: 148 pp., $19.95
"I had a problem for a writer," Jimmy Breslin tells us in the prologue to "Branch Rickey," his impressionistic portrait of baseball's great emancipator, the man responsible for bringing Jackie Robinson to the major leagues. "The rule I followed from my first day as a copyboy in the sports departments was that you couldn't write about a game unless you went to see it. … The trouble is, I spoke to Branch Rickey only once in my whole life."
Here, in a nutshell, we see both the charm and the drawback of "Branch Rickey," a thin book padded in places with...