Wesley Branch Rickey
Becomes Major League Executive
While playing professional baseball, Rickey continued to coach at the college level. He spent two years as football and baseball coach at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. In 1906, he was married to Jane Moulton.
In 1907, Rickey enrolled in the University of Michigan Law School, from which he earned a law degree in 1911 while also coaching the university's baseball team. In 1911, he set up a short-lived law practice in Boise, Ohio with two former OWU fraternity brothers, but the practice foundered, and Rickey soon returned to the University of Michigan, where he took up coaching again. His University of Michigan team included the future Hall of Famer George Sisler, whom Rickey would later sign to a contract with the St. Louis Browns.
Rickey was hired in 1912 by Browns owner Robert Lee Hedges (who had known Rickey from his playing days with the Browns) as a scout and then, shortly thereafter, in 1913, became an executive assistant in the Browns' front office. Rickey was also appointed field manager at the end of the 1913 season and served in that capacity for the next two seasons before being replaced by the Browns' new owner, Philip De Catesby Ball, who retained Rickey in a front office role. In 1917, Rickey accepted a higher-paying job as president of the Browns' national league counterparts, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Browns' owner, Ball, objected to Rickey's departure and undertook legal action in an unsuccessful attempt to enforce provisions of Rickey's contract with the Browns. Rickey volunteered to serve in the First World War, was commissioned a major, and served in France during 1918 with ballplayers such as Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson in the Army's Chemical Warfare Unit.
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