This Day In Dodgers History: Branch Rickey Departs; Will Smith Hits Home Run Off Braves’ Will Smith In NLCS

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

Rickey left after a dispute with majority owner Walter O’Malley. Rickey, who owned 25% of the Dodgers at the time of his departure, ultimately sold his portion to O’Malley.

Rickey originally joined the Dodgers at the end of the 1942 season after overseeing the St. Louis Browns and St. Louis Cardinals for nearly three decades. His most notable act was signing Jackie Robinson to a Minor League contract, who would go on to break 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 went on to become the executive vice president and general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, reuniting with his son, who was the organization’s vice president and farm system director.

Rickey’s time with the Pirates was challenging as the team finished in last place in all but one of his five seasons at the helm. He retired 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 New York Mets’ first president and general manager. After talks fell through, he returned to the Cardinals as a general consultant and special advisor.

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

Will Smith homer run off Braves’ Will Smith

Also on this day in Dodgers history, Will Smith homered off then-Atlanta Braves reliever Will Smith in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series at Globe Life Field. It marked 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 decided lead in a must-win Game 5. L.A kept their 2020 postseason run alive and took 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.

Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!