Branches of Ricky Departments; Will Smith beats out Braves’ Will Smith in NLCS

Will Smith, NLCS, 2020

Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

On October 16, 1950, the Brooklyn Dodgers decided not to renew Branch Rickey’s contract, ending his seven-year tenure as president and general manager of the franchise.

Ricky left after a dispute with controlling shareholder Walter O’Malley. Rickey, who owned 25% of the Dodgers at the time of his departure, eventually sold his stake to O’Malley.

Rickey originally joined the Dodgers at the end of the 1942 season after managing the St. Louis Browns and St. Louis Cardinals for nearly three decades. His most notable act was signing Jackie Robinson in the Minor Leagues, which subsequently broke baseball’s color barrier.

After winning four World Series with the Cardinals, Rickey led the Dodgers to two National League pennants during his tenure with the club.

He became executive vice president and general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, reuniting with his son, who was the organization’s vice president and director of the farm system.

Ricky’s time with the Pirates was not an easy one, as the team finished last in all but one of his five seasons at the helm. He resigned after the 1955 campaign due to health problems, before becoming president of the proposed Continental League.

When plans for a third Major League were abandoned, Rickey entered negotiations to become the first president and general manager of the New York Mets. After negotiations failed, he returned to the Cardinals as general consultant and special adviser.

Rickey’s contract with the Cardinals was terminated after the 1964 season, ending a 62-year professional baseball career.

Will Smith Homer Hits Will Smith of the Braves

Also on this day in Dodgers history, Will Smith scored against then-Atlanta Braves pitcher Will Smith in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series at Globe Life Field. This was the first time in MLB postseason history that a hitter faced a pitcher with the same first and last name.

Smith’s two-out, three-run blast gave the Dodgers a decisive lead in a must-win Game 5. Los Angeles maintained its 2020 postseason run and swept the next two games against the Braves to advance to the World Series.

The Dodgers then defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in six games to win their first championship since 1988.

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