University of Michigan
News for Faculty and Staff

September 23, 2017

Baseball and civil rights legend

March 28, 2016

Baseball and civil rights legend

Old school: U-M in History

Topic: Athletics, History

Branch Rickey, right, with legendary Michigan baseball coach Ray Fisher in 1959. (Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library and the Athletic Department)

One U-M alumnus tied to the Law School and Wolverine baseball team reshaped the national civil rights conversation and the national pastime. Branch Rickey came to Ann Arbor to attend the Law School in 1910. He also took on head baseball coaching duties. Rickey graduated with highest honors and led Michigan to a 68-32-4 record from 1910-13. He went on to make history with Jackie Robinson, signing him to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and breaking the Major League Baseball color barrier. President Eisenhower named Rickey to the president's first civil rights commission. Read a two-part series on Rickey at MGoBlue.com.