Thursday, July 21, 2005

 

July 21st, 1959

Boston Red Sox Integrate

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The Red Sox were the last team to integrate, a subject which is of sometimes great controversy in Boston and one that no matter where you stand a sensitive point. But, rather than dive too much into the more serious aspects of it, we might as well try to have a laugh:

"Pumpsie Green was the first black player on the Boston Red Sox...in 1959 irate fans paraded around Fenway for three days protesting the Red Sox refusal to bring Pumpsie up from the minors. When he was finally brought up in the middle of the year, he disappointed even his most ardent supporters by being unable to either hit major league pitching or field major league hitting, thus achieving immediate and total equality with the rest of the Red Sox lineup. He disappointed no one, however, with his bizarre behavior. One summer weekend in 1962, when after a particularly humiliating defeat at the hands of the New York Yankees, he and [teammate] Gene Conley...walked off the team bus in the middle of a traffic jam in the Bronx and disappeared into the postgame crowd. They were not encountered again until nearly three days later...standing in line at Idewild International Airport attempting to board a plane for Israel--with no luggage, no passport and in what in all candor must be described as a markedly inebriated condition."

~Brendan C. Boyd and Fred Harris, The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book




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