Monday, April 15, 2013

Pumpsie Green

Today is the day to honor Jackie Robinson.  Every player in uniform today will be wearing #42.  It was a difficult time in our history when racial equality was simply not there.  Robinson certainly experienced hardships in becoming a Major League player.  As did many African American players in the early years.  Many teams were resistant to the idea of sharing the field with African American players.

Unfortunately the Red Sox history in this respect is utterly embarrassing.  Boston had the chance to sign Jackie Robinson before he ever signed with the Dodgers and they passed on it.  There is some questions whether the problem was owner Tom Yawkey or manager Joe Cronin or both.  Two other players also tried out that same day that were passed on.  Later, Willie Mays was passed on.

Boston finally fielded their first African American player in 1959, a pathetic 12 years later.  Pumpsie Green was that player.  He was never a great player and he was never really a full-time player either.  No, more than anything Pumpsie Green was just there.  His name is the answer to a trivia question, very little more.  It is a shame my team can not have a more positive history, but that is the way it is.
I do have this card.  It is one that I sought out, even though I do not do a lot of vintage searching.  Green is an important footnote in Red Sox history.  It just is not a terribly positive one.

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