Pumpsie Green Remembered As Red Sox Game-Changer

On July 21, 1959, Elijah Jerry “Pumpsie” Green became the first Black man to play for the Red Sox.

Back then in the 40s and 50s, Black players were not welcome in White teams, such as the Boston Red Sox, because of the racial segregation all across the country. Teams that already had some diversity were championing all major leagues, while those that didn’t want to sign professional Black players went without a single cup.

Jackie Robinson was a three-sport college star and a standout Negro Leaguer, who the Red Sox decided not to sign, but later he became the first Black man in the Majors. While Robinson led the Dodgers team to victory, the Red Sox were struggling for a title. A few years later, the Red Sox had the opportunity to sign Willie Mays, a legendary outfielder, but they once again refused.

The Boston team didn’t want to hire African-American players despite their incredible talents and potentials, but only until 1959, when they called on Pumpsie Green. Pumpsie Green played for four years in Boston and spent a year in the New York Mets.

African-American people have always been good at sport, but for quite long prestigious professional careers were closed to them because of racial prejudice. Now the situation has significantly changed and we are glad to celebrate success and victories of the Black sportsmen.

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