Friday, October 26, 2012

Honoring Pumpsie Green On His 79th Birthday

Pumpsie Green
Tomorrow, Elijah Jerry "Pumpsie" Green will turn 79 years old. Green was the first African-American player in the history of the Boston Red Sox. He debuted on July 21, 1959—more than 12 years after Jackie Robinson's first game in the majors. It was also fourteen years after Robinson —along with fellow Negro league stars Marvin Williams and Sam Jethroe—tried out for the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Pumpsie Green had a heavy weight to carry on his shoulders in 1959, and he carried it well. One week after his call-up, the great pitcher Earl Wilson joined the team as its second African-American player. Over a span of four years, Green only played in 327 games for Boston, but he got on base at a .353 clip over that span. Early on, he was mostly a pinch-runner and bench replacement for the starters, but in 1960 and 1961 he took on more of a full-time role in the infield. Green was traded to the Mets in 1962, but in recent years has renewed his association with Boston at several commemorative events at Fenway. We salute Pumpsie Green and wish him a very happy 79th birthday!