It has been my belief that there are three geniuses that transformed baseball. Two are discussed in Right Off the Bat, whereas the third is simply alluded to: his contributions being a little too complicated for what we are trying to accomplish in our book.
Two new books are reviewed in the New York Times: Branch Rickey, by sui generis New York journalist Jimmy Breslin, and Campy, by Neil Lanctot.
The notice gives an excellent overview of Ebbets Field and the Dodgers of Brooklyn, a most colorful bunch of players and fans within the ultimate working-class ballpark. What it also does is explain a little of what a visionary Branch Rickey was. He devised what is called “the farm system” of minor-league affiliates from which the major league clubs primarily draw talent. Above all, he is one of the largely unsung figures of the civil-rights movement in his signing of Jackie Robinson.