Holy Mystery: Branch Rickey’s 1953 Pirates Signed Bible Falls into Library Group’s Hands

An autographed Bible?  It may sound odd, but 60 years ago, 31 members of the hapless 1953 Pittsburgh Pirates apparently put their names in ink inside a Catholic Bible and presented it to general manager Branch Rickey.  The unusual signed piece was donated to the Friends of the Sacramento (CA) Public Library where it sat for months, waiting to be repaired.

Ralph Kiner, Joe Garagiola, Elroy Face and others neatly signed a page inside that’s partly water damaged but generally in good shape.  The title page includes the inscription: “Presented to Branch Rickey by the Catholic players of the Pirates.  May this good book be an inspiration to one who has ever cherished the word of God.  With sincere humility we respectfully dedicate this Holy Catholic Bible.

“The Bible had been sitting in my shop for months waiting to get repaired,” book restorer Joanne Murphy told the Sacramento Bee. “No one wanted it.”

While having Roberto Clemente’s signature might have given the book’s value a boost in value, the more interesting story is whose idea was it and where has it been?

The Bee delved into those  and offered photos of the unusual piece of memorabilia.