An Interview With Ralph Branca

From Bill at The Platoon Advantage on October 19, 2011:

BP: A connection people might not always make with your career is that, being a Dodger in the 1940s and fifties, you were a longtime teammate of Jackie Robinson. And there’s quite a lot of Jackie Robinson in the book, and in fact, you got to be quite close to him. Could you talk a little bit about how that relationship came about and how it got started?

Ralph Branca: Well, that’s all true, because — I lived on a block I call the United Nations. You know, there was — mostly Italian families, I’m gonna say. I could count them. I’m going to say eight — there were eight Italian families, four black families, two Jewish families, two German families, two Irish families on this block, both sides of the block. So, blacks lived next door to me, so I had no problem playing with or talking to blacks. You know, playing with them, ’cause they played on our team, and there was blacks like three houses up and four houses up, and Charlie Woodson played on a team and Richard Tucker played ball with us.

So, when Jackie joined, all I was hoping [was] that he could play and help us win a pennant, which I think [is what]  most guys think about, winning a pennant. Because in those days you didn’t make a lot of money; in fact, in 1947 I was making $6500, and had we beaten the Yankees in the World Series I would’ve doubled my salary, would’ve gotten sixty-five hundred. As it turned out, we lost, but I got forty-seven hundred dollars, so like three-quarters of my pay was in my World Series check.

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Originally published: October 21, 2011. Last Updated: October 21, 2011.