Short Stops

Rickey Compliments O’Malley

On October 18, 1965, former Dodger President Branch Rickey signed a copy of his new book, “The American Diamond, A Documentary of the Game of Baseball” to Walter O’Malley.

The two were partners in Dodger ownership from 1944-1950, when Rickey sold his shares of stock to O’Malley and Mrs. John L. Smith. Rickey became Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager from 1950-1955.

In the 1965 film “The Old Ball Game,” Rickey stated that in 1945 he couldn’t have made the historic signing of Jackie Robinson to the Dodgers without first getting approval and support of ownership. At that time, his partners were O’Malley, John L. Smith and James and Dearie Mulvey. O’Malley also served on the Dodger Board of Directors as Vice President and Secretary.

In “The American Diamond,” Rickey writes: “The first major problem in breaking the color line was ownership. In St. Louis in 1942 and even later, a Negro was not permitted as a paid spectator to sit in the grandstand. The ownership of Brooklyn at the first meeting in New York approved Negro employment. That was a new day for ownership in professional baseball and…the board of directors of the Brooklyn Baseball Club were heartily in favor.”

Two years earlier, on September 25, 1963, Rickey wrote this letter to O’Malley:

Here is Rickey’s inscription to Walter O’Malley in his book with illustrations by Robert Riger.

Oct. 18, 1965

Dear Walter –

You continue to succeed and you deserve distinction in baseball. My sincere best wishes go out to you –

You will forgive the imperfections of this book –

Branch Rickey

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