Author Topic: Branch Rickey Bible signed by 1953 Pittsburgh Pirates surfaces in California  (Read 600 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Guest
Branch Rickey Bible signed by 1953 Pittsburgh Pirates surfaces in California

Published January 29, 2013

    The Bible was signed by members of the 1953 Pirates. (Randall Benton/MCT/ (MCT)

    Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, who led the National League in home runs for seven straight seasons, and broadcaster Joe Garagiola are among the Bible's signers. (Randall Benton/MCT/

    The Bible once belonged to the legendary Branch Rickey, who had previously helped knock down baseball's color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson. (Courtesy: Major League Baseball Hall of Fame).

A California book repairer reportedly knew something was unusual when she opened up an old Bible found last week amid thousands of materials donated to the Friends of the Sacramento Public Library.

But little did she know that the 31 signatures on the Bible’s first page along with “Pirates 1953” written in blue ink were a piece of baseball history. Even though that year's team from Pittsburgh finished in last place at 54-100, the signatures not only included a future member of baseball's Hall of Fame, the book itself was once owned by a legendary Cooperstown enshrinee, Branch Rickey.

"The Bible had been sitting in my shop for months waiting to get repaired," Murphy, 65, told the Sacramento Bee. "No one wanted it."

The Bible was signed by 30 players and manager Fred Haney from the 1953 Pittsburgh Pirates and was given to general manager Rickey, who was best known for breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson six years earlier when he ran the Brooklyn Dodgers.

So, how exactly did Rickey’s Bible end up in a donation bin in Sacramento?

Rickey’s grandson, Branch Barrett Rickey, said it’s a mystery to him as well.

"It's the first I've heard of the Bible," Branch B. Rickey said by phone from Texas.

Branch Rickey, who was posthumously inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame, died in 1965. About a dozen of the 30 Pirates players who signed the Bible, including Hall of Fame member Ralph Kiner and broadcaster Joe Garagiola, are still living. But of the five reached by The Bee, none recalled signing the Bible.

"I don't remember signing it, but maybe I did," said Eddy Fitz Gerald, a former catcher who lives in Folsom.

Branch B. Rickey, president of the Pacific Coast League, said a number of his relatives live in California, including a sister in Davis and a cousin in Sacramento. But both said they didn't know about the Bible.

"Much of the stuff from my grandfather was parceled out among five daughters and a daughter-in-law," Branch B. Rickey said. "The division of who got what was very informal."

He said it was possible his grandfather had "given the Bible as a gift to a dear friend," but acknowledged "there's any number of speculations."

Baseball collectors told Murphy the restored Bible could fetch as much as $800, the newspaper reports.

Read more:

Offline mountaineer

  • Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,993
Baseball collectors told Murphy the restored Bible could fetch as much as $800, the newspaper reports.
They could get a lot more in the Burgh. The Heinz history museum might even want it.

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but rather he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” Samuel Adams, April 16, 1781.


  • Guest
It's just me, but this Bible would be priceless and belong to the Pirates or be displayed in the Hall of Fame.

Offline SevenofNine

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 113
I think LA Dodgers may have voice in to it

Was Branch Rickey was owner of then Brookyln Dodgers back in da day

Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo