On July 21, 1959 when he entered the game against the Chicago White Sox in Comiskey Park as a pinch runner, Elijah “Pumpsie” Green became the first African American to play for the Boston Red Sox. Twelve years after Jackie Robinson broke into Major League baseball, the Red Sox were the last Major League team pre-expansion (existing before 1969) to have an African American or Hispanic player on their roster.
Born on October 27, 1933 in Boley, Oklahoma, Green’s family moved to Richmond, California when he was eight years old where he became a three sport star (baseball, football, and basketball) in high school. At 6’ and 175 pounds, he was a switch hitting shortstop that played baseball in junior college. He was playing in the California League (Class C minor leagues) when signed by the Red Sox in 1955. He made his Major League debut after four years in the team’s minor league system.
In his four years, 1959 – 1962) with the Red Sox Green was used as a utility infielder and outfielder. In 1961, he played 69 games at shortstop and 41 at second base. After the 1962 season, he was traded to the New York Mets. After his one season with New York, Green played two more years in the minor leagues and then retired.In 344 Major League games, Green batted .246 with 13 home runs and 74 RBIs.
What son of a former Negro League player became the second African American to play for the Boston Red Sox in 1959?