Monday, November 4, 2013

Branch Rickey: A Life

Jimmy Breslin, Penguin, 2011

A New York newspaperman named Jimmy Breslin wrote the second non-fiction book I ever bought. Being a Mets fan at the time, I was interested in his account of the Mets' first season in the old Polo Grounds as Shea Stadium was being built out in Queens. As a ten-year-old, I, of course, had no idea of how Breslin could weave politics, entertainment, scandal and mob bosses into a book about my beloved Mets.

Two weeks ago, I purchased Breslin's biography of Branch Rickey.  Breslin, who I thought had died years ago, brings to life the heroic vision and battles attached thereto fought by the then Brooklyn Dodger General Manager. Against 15 other GMs, many owners of Negro League teams, politicians, athletes and members of the public, Mr. Rickey became pivotal in the county's efforts to level the playing field by at least leveling one. Leadership. Courage. Devotion. Grit. The stuff we may find lacking in people in power these days; all delivered with the wry observations of an old-school newspaperman devoted not to a cause, but simply to telling the story.

© 2013
Church of the Open Road Press

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