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Potomac Books


Branch Rickey, Branch Rickey, 0803211031, 0-8032-1103-1, 978-0-8032-1103-2, 9780803211032, Lee Lowenfish, , Branch Rickey, 0803207611, 0-8032-0761-1, 978-0-8032-0761-5, 9780803207615, Lee Lowenfish, , Branch Rickey, 0803224532, 0-8032-2453-2, 978-0-8032-2453-7, 9780803224537, Lee Lowenfish

Branch Rickey
Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman
Lee Lowenfish

2007. 688 pp.
18 photographs, index
$34.95 t
Out of Stock
2009. 728 pp.
18 images
$26.95 t

He was not much of a player and not much more of a manager, but by the time Branch Rickey (1881–1965) finished with baseball, he had revolutionized the sport—not just once but three times. In this definitive biography of Rickey—the man sportswriters dubbed “The Brain,” “The Mahatma,” and, on occasion, “El Cheapo”—Lee Lowenfish tells the full and colorful story of a life that forever changed the face of America’s game.
As the mastermind behind the Saint Louis Cardinals from 1917 to 1942, Rickey created the farm system, which allowed small-market clubs to compete with the rich and powerful. Under his direction in the 1940s, the Brooklyn Dodgers became truly the first “America’s team.” By signing Jackie Robinson and other black players, he single-handedly thrust baseball into the forefront of the civil rights movement. Lowenfish evokes the peculiarly American complex of God, family, and baseball that informed Rickey’s actions and his accomplishments. His book offers an intriguing, richly detailed portrait of a man whose life is itself a crucial chapter in the history of American business, sport, and society.

Lee Lowenfish, a historian, journalist, broadcaster, and jazz commentator, is the author of The Imperfect Diamond: A History of Baseball’s Labor Wars.

“Lowenfish’s take is detailed and nuanced, balancing the issue of integration with the economic and competitive imperatives of running a professional baseball team. . . . Where Lowenfish is at his best is in explicating the complex and often contradictory impulses that drove his subject, as well as his almost evangelical sense of self. . . . All this leaves us with a question—or a set of questions—about who Rickey really was. To Lowenfish’s credit, he doesn’t look for simple answers; despite his own abiding admiration, he never sugarcoats or presents Rickey in anything other than a three-dimensional light. . . . Without him, baseball would not exist as we know it. America would be a different place as well. In these pages Lowenfish traces the evolution of that America through the filter of a remarkable life.”—David L. Ulin, LA Times Book Review

Branch Rickey: Baseball’s Ferocious Gentleman, by Lee Lowenfish, provides a thorough account of the life, character, and exploits of this teetotaler Ohio farm boy, the grandson of a horse trader, and a true ‘conservative revolutionary.’”—Katherine A. Powers, Boston Globe

“[O]ur heartiest recommendation: Branch Rickey – Baseball’s Ferocious Gentleman by Lee Lowenfish. A fitting and admirable tribute to the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color line. Lowenfish, a respected baseball scholar, reportedly spent 10 years researching and writing this book that, at 600 pages, is chock full of revelations and great anecdotes on Rickey’s life.”—Bill Madden, NY Daily News

“It’s an impressive achievement in historical reporting on a unique character and will serve scholars for decades to come.”—Neil Best, Newsday

“If you read one baseball book this summer, make it Branch Rickey: Baseball’s Ferocious Gentleman by Lee Lowenfish. The author did a remarkable amount of research in bringing to life this incredible baseball man. . . . Lee Lowenfish is to be congratulated for this monumental work. . . . [O]ne of the best baseball books I’ve read.”—Tom Knight, Brooklyn Spectator

2008 Seymour Medal winner, sponsored by the Society for American Baseball Research
2007 Outstanding Academic Book, sponsored by Choice Magazine

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