By Wayne Allen
December 3, 2013
Common Staff Writer
Portsmouth Murals Inc., recently announced Branch Barrett Rickey as the keynote speaker for the 10th Annual Portsmouth Murals Baseball Banquet set for Wednesday, January 15.
Rickey is the grandson of the late Scioto County native Branch Rickey.
According to released information from Portsmouth Murals Inc., “Branch B. Rickey has served as President of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) since 1998. Prior to his time with the PCL, he served as the American Association League President from 1991-97. This follows several decades of involvement at the Major League level with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds, serving both clubs as director of player development.
Branch earned a philosophy degree from Ohio Wesleyan University. After graduation, he became a Peace Corps Volunteer, working in Venezuela for two years, before working as a Peace Corps Recruiter for several years after his return to the U.S.”
The Rickey name was recently brought to the national spotlight when the movie “42” was released earlier this year.
In 1942, Rickey moved to Brooklyn as president of the Dodgers and signed African-American baseball player Jackie Robinson to play for the Dodgers in 1947.
Robinson was the 1947 Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year, 1948 National League Most Valuable Player, six-time All-Star, and played for the Dodgers until 1956. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
Rickey died in 1965 and is buried in Rushtown Cemetery in Scioto County.
“Gene Bennett with the Cincinnati Reds always arranges the banquet speakers and he has again obtained an outstanding baseball personality to highlight the banquet. Bennett and Rickey have been friends for many years. Greg Gibson, last year’s banquet speaker and personal friend of Rickey helped persuade him to come to Portsmouth,” said Bob Morton, president of Portsmouth Murals Inc.
Morton said Gibson is an active Umpire in the Major League Baseball and is anticipated to be in attendance at this year banquet.
The formal announcement of Rickey being the keynote speaker at the banquet was made during an Open House held to display the recently received Branch Rickey Bible at the Scioto County Welcome Center
The banquet will be held at the Southern Ohio Medical Center, Friends Community Center, located at 1202 18th Street in Portsmouth starting at 6 p.m.
For more information the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce at 740-353-7647.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.