State Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) held an unveiling ceremony on Monday, September 15th to announce the dedication of the Branch Rickey Memorial Highway. The event took place at the Scioto County Ohio Department of Transportation garage in Lucasville, near where one of the signs will be located.

Included as part of House Bill 483, the Branch Rickey Memorial Highway will stretch from mile marker 3 to mile marker 10 on a portion of U.S. Route 23 in Scioto County. The dedication provided a moment to honor a man who is a tremendous source of pride to Southern Ohio and who left an indelible mark on the world of baseball.

Branch Rickey, a native of Scioto County, served as general manager for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1925 to 1942. It was during his tenure as president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers that Branch Rickey made history by signing Jackie Robinson in 1945. Recently he was portrayed by Harrison Ford in the major motion picture “42.”

Al “Scoop” Oliver Jr., another Scioto County native, was on hand for the ceremony. Al’s own performance in the major leagues, most notably as a player for the Pittsburgh Pirates during their 1971 World Series Championship run, and his service to the community has earned him the respect and admiration of many. He is a huge fan of Branch Rickey and has strong, positive feelings for what he did for baseball and race relations.

Also present at the ceremony was Scioto County native, Gene Bennett. Gene served as a scout for the Cincinnati Reds for fifty-eight seasons, earning numerous accolades and a spot in the Middle Atlantic Major League Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame. It was from Branch Rickey that Gene received the advice to transition from playing to scouting, words of wisdom that launched his award-winning career.

“It is a truly great thing that we’re doing with this road naming. Branch Rickey was a wonderful product of Southern Ohio and Scioto County in particular,” said Rep. Johnson. “This fine gentleman grew up on Duck Run, the same road as my home and I was raised in the shadow of his legacy. The world needs that Branch Rickey was from here.”

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