Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey decided to try to desegregate the major leagues in 1944, when baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis (who was against integration), passed away. Without Landis opposition, Rickey knew he would be able to sign players from the Negro Leagues to play for the Dodgers. When he began scouting, Rickey intended to sign more than one black player, so as to not have one man deal with the racial pressures that were to accompany being the first black player in the majors. Originally, he planned for Negroe League stars Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe, and Sam Jethroe to break into the majors as a trio. However, he was nervous that the league would not allow the signing of three black players at once, so he decided to sign only Robinson. Robinson began playing in the minor leagues on April 18, 1946, and broke the color barrier one year later, when the Dodgers purchased his contract on April 10, 1947. Newcombe, along with fellow Negro League players Roy Campanella, Roy Partlow, and John Wright, who were all scouted by Rickey along with Robinson, joined the Dodgers the following year.