Monday, March 1, 2021

Barrier Breakers: 1959 Pumpsie Green - Boston Red Sox


Twelve years, three months and six days after Jackie Robinson made his debut with the Dodgers, the Red Sox begrudgingly became the last MLB team to integrate.  Only under the ongoing investigation and charges of violating Massachusetts's Fair Employment Law, did the Sox relent. Pinky Higgins the Red Sox manager was quoted as saying "There’ll be no n* on this ball club as long as I have anything to say about it.”  He was replaced by Billy Jurges exactly 2 weeks before Green was called up.

Enough about Yawkey's  Red Sox and what was referred to at the time as "Aryan Acres" and more about Pumpsie Green.  He platooned as a middle infielder his whole  career.  He batted an adequate .246. He played pro ball from 1951-1965.  But his MLB career was just from 1959-1963.  He was named to Topps Rookie All-Star team in 1959. He appeared on Topps cards from 1960-1964.

I have chosen to depict him on a 1959 Rookie Stars card.  In 2008 Topps gave him a 1959 style insert as part of that season's Heritage issue.  Although his career stats don't bear it out, his accomplishments and sacrifices has endeared him to fans everywhere.


  1. It's galling that Tom Yawkey, whose teams never won a World Series, is in the Hall of Fame despite being the last holdout on the color line.

  2. Red Sox lost out on some amazing players because of that ignorance. They had a chance to sign Willie Mays, but couldn't see the talent behind the color. A shameful period to be sure.

  3. What still amazes me is that the Boston Bruins had the first black NHL player (Willie O'Ree) a FULL TWO YEARS before the Red Sox found fit to bring up Pumpsie.

  4. Great point. It's not Boston. It was Red Sox Management. The Boston Braves integrated 9 years earlier with Sam Jethroe.

  5. Pumpsie's brother Cornell was a def. back for the Cowboys in the 60s and 70s.

    1. LOL. That sounds like it should accompany a cartoon football player with a Stetson on the back of his card.