Since 1991, Branch B. Rickey has served as a league president in Triple-A Baseball. He was first elected to that role by the American Association and came to the Pacific Coast League seven years later in 1998. His move over to the PCL was precipitated by Major League Baseball's expansion, one which triggered a realignment of Triple-A, dissolving the American Association as the classification consolidated from three leagues into two. His start in Minor League Baseball followed several decades at the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds, serving each of these clubs as Farm Director. He had joined Pittsburgh in 1975 in front office administration and as a scout, eventually advancing to the lead role in development.
The Rickey family name has been long associated with professional baseball. It is closely linked with Jackie Robinson since it was his grandfather, Branch Rickey, Sr., who signed Jackie and brought him to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, an event often referred to as "breaking the color barrier." Both his father and grandfather were lifelong front office executives - from the Cardinals, to the Brooklyn Dodgers, to the Pirates.
Prior to delving into baseball for a career, Branch had previously spent five summers working for the Pirates. He started when he was a sophomore in high school as an office boy at Forbes Field. So, when two years later as he was about to graduate from high school and a sudden resignation occurred at the Pirates rookie league team in the Appalachian League, the parent club asked 17-year old Branch if he would go to Kingsport, Tennessee to run the club. This was a job which he repeated for the subsequent two summers between college years at Ohio Wesleyan University. As a student at OWU, he pursued a liberal arts degree, majoring in Philosophy - an interesting preparation for professional sports! Although an athlete who had won letters in football, wrestling and baseball in high school, he switched over in college to soccer, became a four-year varsity letterman and co-captained the team his senior year.
Following college graduation, he became a Peace Corps Volunteer and was assigned to Venezuela. He continued to work for the Peace Corps upon his return to the U.S. as a college campus recruiter, visiting and speaking on campuses. After just two years of assignment to traveling to Southern colleges and universities, Branch was promoted to oversee a regional recruitment office which he did for several years before returning to the profession which has always been his "roots."
Curiously, Branch dabbled in another sport involvement prior to migrating back to professional baseball. His high school wrestling background along with further college intramural wrestling prompted him to pursue officiating of Freestyle and Greco-Roman competition. Initially qualifying as an international official in 1969, his ascent was rapid culminating in his certification to work as a judge and referee at the Olympic level by 1972. So, at the age of 26 he participated at the Olympics in Munich - quite possibly the youngest Olympic referee ever. However, subsequent full-time commitment to professional baseball forced him to forgo this avocation -- but only after having fulfilled a special dream to be part of the Olympic Games.
Branch and his wife Diane have two daughters and five grandchildren and have made their home in Round Rock, Texas since 2010.