Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Happy baseball (movie) season!

On my way to work on Opening Day a few weeks ago, I saw a woman puke on the sidewalk in downtown Detroit at 7:30 a.m. For a more auspicious beginning to baseball season, check out John U. Bacon's story on UM Law grad Branch Rickey (who graduated '11, but not my '11) and his relationship with Jackie Robinson.
But if you didn't look closely you would never predict Rickey, an erudite and professorial Michigan Law School graduate, would be the one to pursue the "Great Experiment" any more than you'd predict Robinson would be the best candidate to carry it out. 
Like Robinson, there was more to Rickey than met the eye. Politically, he was ultra-conservative. Topping Rickey's list of social evils were Franklin Roosevelt, communism, and welfare. But he believed in fairness above all and often performed pro bono legal work for African-American defendants he felt had been wrongly accused. This predisposition was a product of both his education and his religious background. It was a trait that would resonate throughout Rickey's dealings in both business and baseball.

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