Bats: B Throws: R
Height: 6′ Weight: 175
Born: Friday, October 27, 1933 in Boley, OK USA
Died: July 17, 2019
Debut: July 21, 1959
Last Game: September 26, 1963
Full Name: Elijah Jerry Green
Pumpsie Green was the first black player to play for the Boston Red Sox, the last major-league club to integrate. He played five seasons in the major leagues, primarily with the Red Sox.
Born in Oklahoma, he moved to Oakland, CA at a young age and was long listed as having been born in that city. After high school, Green was set to attend Fresno State, but went to Contra Costa Community College after his high school coach took up the coaching position there and told him he could be his shortstop. While at Contra Costa he went to a tryout held by the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League and was signed by the team.
Green was first sent to play for the Wenatchee Chiefs in the Northwest League, and then moved to the California League’s Stockton Ports. He was the league’s MVP in 1955. During the season his contract was purchased by the Boston Red Sox and the team wished to assign him to the team’s Montgomery affiliate in the South Atlantic League. He was due to room with Earl Wilson the organization’s other black player. However, Green requested and received permission to stay with his California League team through the end of the season.
He played with the Minneapolis Millers (American Association) through 1959 when he was called up to the Red Sox. He made his debut on July 21, 1959.
In his Boston tenure, he was used mostly as a pinch runner or day-off replacement for infielders Pete Runnels and Don Buddin. He made his debut on July 21, 1959, pinch-running in a 2-1 loss against the White Sox.
Green enjoyed his best season in 1961, posting career highs in batting average (.260), home runs (6), RBI (27), doubles (12), stolen bases (4), and at-bats (260). However, he also had the most errors of his career that year, with 16. He played his final game with the Mets on September 26, 1963.
In 1962, after a weekend of humiliating losses to the New York Yankees, Green along with Gene Conley got off the bus in the middle of a traffic jam in the Bronx. They were not spotted until 3 days later by a New York Post sports reporter at the Idlewild International Airport trying to board a plane for Israel, with no passports or luggage.
In a five-season career, Green was a .246 hitter with 13 home runs and 74 RBI in 344 games. On April 17, 2009, Green was honored by the Boston Red Sox in a first-pitch ceremony, in recognition of 50 years since his breaking of the Red Sox color barrier.
After his baseball playing days were over, Green took a job with the Berkeley, CA school district where he taught math and coached the school’s baseball team. His brother, Cornell, played in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys.