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Pumpsie Green dies at 85

Bill Jurges and Pumpsie Green Holding Baseball Bat

(Original Caption) Manager Bill Jurges, (R) of the Boston Red Sox, greets Pumpsie Green, who was recalled to the parent club from Minneapolis. Green, an infielder, became the first African American ever to play for the Red Sox when he came in as pinch runner in the 8th inning of the game. The White Sox won 2-1.

Bettmann Archive

Former Red Sox infielder Pumpsie Green died on Wednesday at the age of 85, NESN’s Tom Caron reports.

Green was the first black player to ever suit up for the Red Sox, breaking Boston’s color barrier. They were the last pre-expansion team to integrate, doing so on July 21, 1959. Green spent parts of five seasons in the majors -- four with the Red Sox, and his final season with the Mets. He hit an aggregate .246/.357/.364 with 56 extra-base hits, 74 RBI, 119 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 954 plate appearances.

Green was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame last year.

As Craig has noted, the Red Sox were the last to integrate due to a very heinous streak of intolerance within the organization. Not only did they cut short Jackie Robinson’s tryout in 1945, the club also passed on Willie Mays years later to their own detriment.

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