Click “View Post” to hear Branch Rickey’s address at the first FCA National Conference. (Two parts)
Click the arrows below to start the clips.
Dr. Louis Evans introduced Rickey (which you’ll hear at the beginning of the first clip), and then Rickey stirred up the 256 coaches and athletes on the Conference’s first night with his thoughts on athletics, the truth of Christ and FCA.
From Wayne Atcheson’s book Impact for Christ:
Dressed in a suit as usual with his polkadotted bow tie and horn rimmed glasses over his thick eyebrows, Mr. Rickey stood behind the tree-trunk podium prepared to give a forceful and powerful speech which lasted 53 minutes. He didn’t talk about his own major league career of four years (1904-07) or the 10 years he managed the St. Louis Brown (1913-15) and St. Louis Cardinals (1919-25). He touched on several areas brilliantly in intellectual and spiritual content. He began with the significance of athletics. “It is an integral part of our nation. We could hardly get along without it. It’s so meaningful. Our language is continuously filled with it. Illustrations in the ministry and even in the field of statesmanship constantly use and understand it.
Atcheson also wrote that Rickey was clear in his love for Christ, often mentioning Jesus’ name in his address:
“Jesus is not a myth,” Rickey said. “He’s not a fraud. He’s not the plausible but illogical philosopher. He’s the light of the world. He is to me.”
And there is this gem from Rickey’s speech:
“This Fellowship of Athletes is not a namby-pamby thing; it is a courageous organization. It is not a physical conditioning process; it is a cooperative grouping of athletes to embrace and have others embrace Jesus as the Christ, the measure of divinity through which we come to find and know God. It is an effort that challenges our best intelligence and all our emotions. We must proceed to the task with conviction, with contriteness and with courage even to the point of ardor.”