The 20 greatest Dodgers of all time, No. 17: Branch Rickey
Beginning April 11, we asked you to list your choices for the 10 greatest Dodgers of all time. You could vote via comment, Facebook, Twitter or email. And vote you did. From then until April 21, when voting closed, we received an amazing 12,231 ballots. So many, that we have decided to expand the list from the top 10 to the top 20. Each weekday at 11 a.m., a new player will be listed as we count down all 20.
Remember, any Dodger, Brooklyn or L.A., was eligible, including managers, owners, announcers, etc. Points were assigned based on where you list the player on the ballot. Your first choice received 12 points, second choice 10, third place eight, all the way down to one point for 10th place.
So with no further ado, here is No. 17:
No. 17: Branch Rickey (32 first-place votes, 7,093 points)
Rickey was named on less than half the ballots, but when he was named, he was usually in the top three, which gave him enough points to make the top 20.
Rickey became president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1942, succeeding Larry MacPhail, who had left the team to serve in World War II. Rickey had just spent 23 years as GM of the St. Louis Cardinals, building them into one of baseball’s top powerhouses.
But let’s fact it, Rickey is on this list mainly for one reason: He was the man who decided it was time to break baseball’s color barrier.
Rickey searched for the right man, with the right temperament, to do this job, and he settled on Jackie Robinson. And it proved to be a wise choice.
It would be a disservice to Rickey and Robinson to even attempt to tell their story in a blog post, so no attempt will be made. Suffice to say their respect for each other can be summed up in two quotes:
Rickey on Robinson, “God was with me when I picked Jackie. I don’t think any other man could have done what he did those first two or three years.”
Robinson on Rickey: “Branch Rickey did more for African Americans than any white man since Abraham Lincoln.”
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.