Commissioners lend support for Rickey Bible donation

March 8, 2013

Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

On Thursday the Scioto County Commissioners signed a letter of support for Portsmouth Murals Inc. and their efforts to have a Bible formerly owned by Scioto County native Branch Rickey donated to the organization.

“A library in Sacramento, California has a Bible that was presented to Branch Rickey a number of years ago and they want to donate that to a charitable organization. They were thinking about donating it to Cooperstown,” said Mike Crabtree, Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners. “Branch Rickey is buried in Scioto County and his house still stands on Duck Run. His roots are here and they (The Murals) would like to have that Bible here as opposed to Cooperstown. There are tons of items there (Cooperstown) and it may get lost in the shuffle, they would like to have it here where it will be one of a few rather than one of many items.”

Crabtree said The Murals is hoping letters of support from various community organizations will help bring the Bible home.

According to published reports, the Bible contains 31 signatures, with a heading in blue ink that reads - “Pirates 1953.”

Born in Scioto County in 1881, Wesley Branch Rickey was many things: a school teacher, a college and professional baseball and football player, coach, lawyer and a soldier. He received three college degrees from Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.

In 1942, he moved to Brooklyn as president of the Dodgers and signed African-American baseball player Jackie Robinson to play for the Dodgers in 1947.

That moment is the inspiration behind a movie being produced by Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures. The movie is titled “42” and is scheduled to be released in early April.

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.

The movie’s announced cast includes, Academy Award nominee Harrison Ford (“Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones,” “Air Force One,”) as Branch Rickey, and Chadwick Boseman (“The Express”) as Robinson. Also starring are Nicole Beharie (“Shame”) Christopher Meloni (upcoming “Man of Steel”) and T.R. Knight (TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”).

The film is expected to open in time to commemorate the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson Day celebrating his first Major League game. The film also opens in time for the start of the 2013 Major League Baseball season.

For up to the date information about the movie visit the film’s Facebook page.

No indication was given on when the Bible donation will be determined.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or tallen@civitasmedia.com.