On this date in 1942, longtime Cardinals president and general manager Branch Rickey is hired to be the new team president of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Rickey had hit a ceiling in the St. Louis front office thanks to a souring relationship with Cardinals owner Sam Breadon, so he couldn't pass up the opportunity to head up the Dodgers front office when previous team president Larry MacPhail left to serve in World War Two.
He may be best known for breaking the "color barrier" with the Dodgers when he signed Jackie Robinson first to a major league contract and later promoted him to become the first African-American player in the modern era of baseball. But he was an innovator long before that.
Rickey was hired by the Cardinals to be their manager and general manager in 1919. By 1921 he was purchasing controlling interest of minor league baseball clubs with the intent on being able to control the development -- and the contracts -- of young players. It was the creation of the modern "farm system" that remains in place today.
In 1925 Rickey was replaced on the bench by player-manager Rogers Hornsby to allow him to concentrate on player development. It was the beginning of one of the richest eras in Redbird history. The Cardinals won the 1926 World Series and the National League Pennant in 1928. They won three pennants and two World Series in the first half of the 1930s.
Rickey was always on the lookout for the next great mine of talent. So it made sense that when he was looking for an advantage upon joining the Dodgers that he would try to absorb some of the best young players in the Negro Leagues.
Robinson, Roy Campanella and Don Newcome not only changed American culture by joining baseball's main stream, he built Brooklyn into a powerhouse at the same time.
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