Elijah “Pumpsie” Green, the first black player in Boston Red Sox history, has died. He was 85.
NESN’s Tom Caron reported the news Wednesday during NESN’s Red Sox pregame coverage.
Green broke Boston’s color barrier 60 years ago and recently was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2018. He made his Major League Baseball debut July 21, 1959. Green’s first game at Fenway Park came just two weeks later.
Green amassed a career .246 batting average with 74 RBIs, 13 home runs and 12 stolen bases in five big-league seasons. He spent four of those with the Red Sox.
“Pumpsie Green occupies a special place in our history,” Red Sox principal owner John Henry said in a statement Wednesday evening. “He was, by his own admission, a reluctant pioneer, but we will always remember him for his grace and perseverance in becoming our first African-American player. He paved the way for the many great Sox players of color who followed. For that, we all owe Pumpsie a debt of gratitude.”
“We salute the courage Pumpsie Green demonstrated 60 years ago when he became our first player of color,” Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said in the statement. “Despite the challenges he faced, he showed great resilience and took pride in wearing our uniform. He honored us by his presence. We send our deepest condolences to Pumpsie’s family and friends.”
A true legend surely will be missed.