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Baseball to honor Emmett Ashford, the first African-American ump

Emmett Ashford

Today is the 50th anniversary of the major league debut of umpire Emmett Ashford. He was the first African-American umpires in major league history.

It was a late debut for Ashford. He was 51 years-old. He didn’t begin umping at all until he was 36, having worked for the postal service before that. But after having worked in the minors from 1951 through 1965, on April 11, 1966 Ashford got his break. It wasn’t a long career in the bigs -- he’d retire in 1970 -- but it was a groundbreaking one. You can read all about his life and his career over at the SABR website, which has a nice biography of him.

Today there will be a tribute video played in his honor:

[mlbvideo id="584071183" width="600" height="336" /]

Also, the current umps will wear a patch: