Bing Crosby Refuses to Bring Cash for Pirates

Article taken from The Ames Daily Tribune, August 14, 1954

New York (UP) -- Branch Rickey, who pioneered baseball's farm system and broke its unwritten color line, is being eased out of the picture with the Pittsburgh Pirates because of crooner Bing Crosby's refusal to supports his highly expensive 'rebuilding plan."

Crosby, who owns 20 percent of the pirates, produced the front-office crisis which will push Rickey into the position of an "advisor and chief scout" next year with repeated denials of additional cash with which the 72 year-old Branch hoped to make the Pirates a penant contender.

Branch Rickey Jr. revealed friday night that his father would step down as general manager of the Pirates in November, 1955. Rickey Sr. signed a 10-year contract. Rickey Jr. said in Pittsburgh that his father "intends to act in an advisory capacity and will concentrate on the player angle--trades, teaching and training and scouting." there was no indication as to who might succeed Rickey Sr., as general manager of the club. Rickey's salary is estimated at $100,000 a year.

Rickey Jr. emphasized that his father was eager to get away from the tedious daily routine of operating the far-flung organization.

"Dad wants to ge away from the 12 hours a day routine that he works now." Rickey jr. said. "He wants to take it a little easy and get away from the business end of the ball club."

Rickey Sr. was unavailable for comment because he is on route home from a fishing trip in Canada.

Before going to Pittsburgh, Rickey had earned a reputation as one of baseball's authentic geniuses. He orginated the farm system for the St. Louis Cardinals, building them into a perennial challenger for the NL pennant, and also built the current Dodger, who have been the "team to beat" in the league since 1946.

But his greatest claim to fame always will be his decision to "break the game's color line." When he signed Jackie Robinson to a Dodger contract in 1947, making Robinson the first Negro player in the history of the major leagues.