Professional baseball manager to reflect on baseball, breaking of color barrier in UCCS speech

November 6, 2013
Tom Hutton, (719) 255-3439, (719) 351-6519, thutton@uccs.edu

UPDATE: This event has been relocated to Berger Hall in the UCCS University Center.

Branch B. Rickey

Branch B. Rickey

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Branch B. Rickey III, president of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League of Minor League Baseball, will share views on professional baseball and stories that include his grandfather’s efforts to break baseball’s color barrier during a 7 p.m. Nov. 15 speech at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

Rickey, of Round Rock, Texas, will speak to the freshman seminar class, Baseball: Home Runs, Hot Dogs and Life, on the third floor of the Kraemer Family Library. The event is free but tickets are required. A limited number will be available on a first-come basis at the University Center front desk. A limit of two tickets per person will be imposed.

Since 1998, Branch Rickey has served as president of the Pacific Coast League which includes the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Fresno Grizzlies, Albuquerque Isotopes, Tacoma Rainiers, Iowa Cubs and 11 other Triple-A affiliates of Major League Baseball teams. Previously, he served as president of the Triple-A American Association. Prior to his current minor league involvement, he spent more than 20 years on the major league level as a scout and, eventually, as director of player development for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds.

Rickey will share views on baseball from behind the scenes, details of his own career, as well as some of the little known background to the breaking of the national pastime’s color barrier by his late grandfather, Branch Rickey. It was his grandfather who designed the farm club system of training and advancing players into Major League Baseball in 1919 and who shepherded the small market St. Louis Cardinals to six World Series in 17 years. Subsequently, as general manager and president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Rickey signed Jackie Robinson who made his major league debut in 1947, effectively breaking the color barrier in professional sports.

Portrayed by Harrison Ford in the popular movie “42,” Rickey went on to be a prominent civil rights spokesman until his retirement from baseball in 1963. He died in 1965, a few days before his 84th birthday.

Baseball: Home Runs, Hot Dogs and Life is taught by Martin Wood, vice chancellor, University Advancement, Brian Burnett, senior executive vice chancellor, Administration and Finance, Chris Beiswanger, director, Office of Admissions, and Gary Butterworth, senior vice president, El Pomar Foundation. All are life-long baseball fans who integrate baseball into class discussions about leadership, ethics, history, communication and other life skills. The course is part of Freshman Seminar, ID 1010, which is designed to help prepare entering students for a successful college experience by helping them build relationships with faculty and other students and integrating entering students into the rigor of academic life. The courses emphasize weekly assignments, study skills development, writing and speaking exercises, readings and quizzes on the readings, listening to and evaluating lectures and discussions in large and small groups.

For more information about Branch Rickey III, visit http://www.milb.com/content/page.jsp?ymd=20061214&content_id=41288262&sid=l112&vkey=league

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The University offers 37 bachelor’s degrees, 19 master’s and five doctoral degrees. UCCS enrolls about 10,500 students on campus annually and another 2,000 in online programs. For more information, visit www.uccs.edu.