Baseball: The Mahatma

"You have to care about baseball," he always insisted, but he was always a little surprised by the depth of his own devotion. "Imagine," Wesley Branch Rickey once said, "a man trained for the law devoting his entire life and energies to something so cosmically unimportant as a game."

As a player, Branch Rickey's contribution to baseball is best forgotten. A no-hit, no-field catcher, he bounced briefly around the majors reaching a sort of apex with the New York Highlanders in 1907, when he batted .182 and permitted the Washington Senators to steal...

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