Branch Rickey Day Celebrated in Portsmouth, Ohio

From SABR member Lee Lowenfish at on August 29:

Baseball has celebrated April 15 as Jackie Robinson Day since 2004, when Commissioner Bud Selig designated the date to commemorate the man who shattered Major League Baseball’s color barrier on that date in 1947.

On Aug. 28, Scioto County, Ohio, annually celebrates Branch Rickey Day on the date Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, signed Robinson to his first Minor League contract. On Sunday in Portsmouth, Ohio, the day was marked with the re-dedication of a flood-wall mural honoring the signing milestone, as well as the renaming of Front Street, where more than 75 wall murals have been painted, as Branch Rickey Way.

Rickey is one of Scioto County’s most famous native sons along with actor Roy Rogers, who grew up on the same country road — Duck Run — as Rickey. Sunday’s ceremonies drew former big leaguers such as Carl Erskine and Al Oliver, as well as recently retired Cincinnati Reds scout Gene Bennett, another local legend.

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Related link: Lowenfish’s book, Branch Rickey: Baseball’s Ferocious Gentleman, won the Seymour Medal in 2008.

Originally published: August 29, 2011. Last Updated: August 29, 2011.