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Red Sox First Black Player July 21,1959

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Not until more than 12 years after Jackie Robinson’s debut with the Dodgers, did the first black player take the field for the Red Sox.

On July 21, 1959 the Red Sox were in Chicago, trailing the White Sox 2-1, going into the 8th inning. Vic Wertz hit a lead off single for Boston. Then Red Sox manager Billy Jurges, very belatedly, made history by pulling Wertz in favor of pinch runner, Elijah “Pumpsie” Green. White Sox pitcher Dick Donovan retired the next three batters. Then Green took the field and played short stop for two innings. He didn’t have any fielding opportunities and didn’t get up to bat, as Chicago held on to win the game 2-1.

Green played in 49 more games for Boston in 1959, hitting .239 with one homer and 10 RBIs. He had three more unremarkable seasons with the Red Sox and then wound up his career playing 17 games with the Mets in 1963.

Ironically, Robinson had tried out for the Red Sox in 1945, before Branch Rickey signed him to play for Brooklyn. He went on to lead the Dodgers to six NL pennants and one World Series Win.

In a 1965 Sports Illustrated article Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey had this to say about his team’s lack of black players:

“I have no feeling against colored people,” he says. “I employ a lot of them in the South. But they are clannish, and when that story got around that we didn’t want Negroes they all decided to sign with some other club. Actually, we scouted them right along, but we didn’t want one because he was a Negro. We wanted a ballplayer.”

Howard Bryant, who wrote the book “Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston”, said

The Red Sox were one of the most racist teams in baseball. You’ve got a 50-year legacy of difficulties between the Red Sox and the African-American population.

Harold Friend for Bleacher Report probably hit the nail on the head. He wrote:

The Red Sox rejected Robinson, Jethroe, and Mays, but selected Pumpsie Green. Only two conclusions are possible. Either discrimination existed or the Red Sox were the most incompetent organization in sports history.

Pumpsie Green First Black Red Sox 8x10 Autographed $45.90  Click here to see more Pumpsie Green  collectibles

Pumpsie Green First Black Red Sox 8×10 Autographed
Click here to see more Pumpsie Green collectibles


Yankees Game Halted for Moon Walk July 20, 1969

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While the first successful moon walk was underway on Sunday July 19, 1969 at 4:17 PM EDT; as is the case with every other Sunday in July, a full schedule of Major League baseball games was being played.

In the Bronx, the Yankees and the Senators were all tied at 2-2, in the 8th inning, when announcer Bob Sheppard told the 34,000 fans in attendance (who couldn’t give up seeing two mediocre teams play a meaningless game, rather than staying at home to watch a momentous event on TV) “You will be happy to know that Apollo 11 has landed safely.”

Not everyone was watching television at the time. In ten cities across the country, major league baseball games were scheduled, including five double-headers. The games did not all start at the same time, though, so the moon landing hit them all differently. In Seattle, for example:
“…pregame ceremonies before an American League baseball game between the hometown Pilots and the Minnesota Twins were interrupted by an announcement of the moon landing. The fans cheered, stood up and sang ‘America the Beautiful.'”
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The Mets Can Win, According Casey Stengel

Casey Stengel always said the Mets would win when they put a man on the Moon. Both miracles happened in 1969.
The whole world didn’t stop on July 20, 1969, when astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon. It just seemed that way.
For even as astronaut Neil Armstrong was landing on the powdery surface of the Moon that day, uttering 11 of history’s most famous words – “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” – the sports world carried on.
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DiMaggio 56 Game Steak Ends July 17, 1941

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Joe DiMaggio saw his 56 game hitting streak come to an end on July 17, 1941. 72 years later, nobody, not even DiMaggio himself, has come close to equaling his mark. Before DiMaggio’s streak, which started and ended during the 1941 season, Willie Keeler held the record. Keeler hit safely in the first 44 games of the 1897 season.He also hit safely in the last game of the 1896 season. In the modern era, George Sisler had a 41 game streak in 1922.

The streak began without much fanfare. The game was played in Yankee Stadium in front of a crowd, if that’s what you want to call it, of 9,040. (That would mean there were close to 60,000 empty seats.) Joltin’ Joe went 1-4, with a single and an RBI. Meanwhile, the Yanks got smoked by the White Sox 13-1.

More than two months later, against the Indians in Cleveland, the DiMaggio Streak came to an end.

Since DiMAggio’s feat, Pete Rose is the only Major Leaguer who has been able to hit safely in 40 or more consecutive games. Rose’s 1978 streak lasted 44 games.

Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak began on this day in 1941 with a humble RBI single against the Chicago White Sox. The Yankee Clipper wouldn’t be held hitless again until July 16. That record streak remains one of the most hallowed and admired marks in sports. Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers made headlines early this season by putting together a hitting streak barely half as long. In 71 years, no one has come within 12 games of DiMaggio’s record…

The Yankees rallied in the eighth. With one out and three runs already in, Henrich walked to load the bases. Despite Smith’s success with Joe that night, the pitcher was gassed. In came second-generation Major League pitcher Jim Bagby Jr.
DiMaggio had observed, from one knee in the batter’s box, Bagby’s warm-up pitches. Back on June 15, Joe had homered off Bagby, at the time extending The Streak to 28. DiMaggio saw what he wanted. Time to hit. Joe walked purposefully to the batter’s box.
On a 2-1 pitch, DiMaggio swung and bounced a sharp ground ball at shortstop Lou Boudreau. The 24-year-old infielder was celebrating his birthday, but the last hop of this grounder was anything but a gift.
As the ball took an unexpected detour up and to his right, Boudreau stayed with the bad bounce and shoveled to second for a force out. When Ray Mack threw on to first, DiMaggio was the victim of a double play.
An uneventful Yankee ninth inning meant that Cleveland needed to tie in the bottom of the frame for DiMaggio to have any chance to continue his historic run.
Larry Rosenthal’s two-run triple gave DiMaggio’s fans hope, as the score now stood at 4-3. But Yankee reliever Johnny Murphy retired the side, and The Streak ended at 56 straight.
Read about all 56 games in the steak at


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Babe Ruth Major League Debut

Ted Willimas Walk Off Home Run 1941 All Star Game


Johnny Bench Tops Yogi 314 HRs July 15, 1980

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Johnny Bench broke the record held by Yogi Berra for the most home runs by a catcher. He hit his 314th round-tripper on July 15, 1980.

Bench was elected to the Hall of Fame after an illustrious career with the Cincinnati Reds. He was a key member of The Big Red Machine, the nickname given to Reds during the years in which they dominated baseball, 1970-1976. In that seven year span, the Reds won four National League pennants and two World Series. No National League has been able to win back-to-back World Series since the Cincinnati did it in 1975-1976.

Johnny Bench was National League Rookie of the Year in 1968. He was also NL MVP in 1970 (.293, 45, 148) and in 1972 (.270, 40, 125). He made the NL All Star Team 14 times (every season between 1968 and 1980.)

1976 was an off year for Bench. He only managed to hit 16 home runs and contributed a mere 74 RBIs. However he was solid in the NL championship, as the Reds swept the Phillies. He hit .333 in that series. In Cincinnati’s four game World Series sweep of the Yankees, Bench was on fire. He was 8-15 (.533), with a double, a triple, two homers and six RBIs.

As if that weren’t enough, he won ten consecutive Gold Glove awards, from 1968 to 1977.

Bench’s record for the most home runs by a catcher was eventually eclipsed by both Mike Piazza and Carlton Fisk, but between the two of them, they have no World Series rings and only a single Gold Glove. (Fisk in 1972). So we’ll leave it up to you to decide who was the greatest catcher of all time. (Don’t forget Yogi with his 313 homers and 11 World Series rings!)


Babe Ruth Major League Debut – July 11, 1914

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Babe Ruth pitched six strong and one not so strong inning in his major league debut against the Cleveland Indians on July 11, 1914.
The Boston Globe Headline read:

Still going by the name George Ruth, the young Red Sox pitcher held Cleveland to one run and only five hits through the first six innings, as the Sox jumped to a
3-1 lead. The Indians roughed him in the seventh, scoring two earned runs and tying the game. In the bottom of the seventh (Get this!, Duffy Lewis came in to pinch hit for Ruth. The Sox managed to score a run in the seventh enabling Ruth to get the win in his first start.

Babe Ruth Wikimedia Commons

Babe Ruth Wikimedia Commons

Last month, one of ten Babe Ruth Rookie Cards was sold for $450,000

The sports memorabilia world is still buzzing over an auction result that can rightly be considered an upset. For the first time ever, a 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card sold for more money than the famed T206 Honus Wagner.

It happened at Robert Edward Auctions (REA), where one of only about 10 known examples of the Ruth card sold for a record price of $450,300. That was nearly $48,000 more than a 1909 T206 Wagner, which was offered in the same grade and was once the subject of an FBI “card hunt” after it was stolen from a restaurant display in the 1990s.

The Babe Ruth Birth Place and Sports Legends Museum in Baltimore, has another one of the Babe Ruth rookie cards.

Carl Hubbell Strikes Out Five Hall of Famers in a Row – July 10, 1934

Babe Ruth Sold for $100K in 1920. His Shirt sold for $4MM in 2012

First All-Star Game Babe Ruth Homers July 6, 1933


Carl Hubbell Strikes Out Five Hall of Famers in a Row – July 10, 1934

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In the 1934 All-Star Game, Carl Hubbell struck out five hall-fame-destined batters in a row. Pitching for the National League, in his own ball park, The Polo Grounds, The New York Giants ace got off to a shaky start by giving up a lead off single to Charlie Gehringer and a walk to Heinie Manush.

So now with runners at first and second Hubbell got to face Babe Ruth who was working his way toward 714 career home runs; followed by Lou Gehrig who was on his way toward 49 homers in 1934, and 493 career home runs. Then batting fifth for the American League, Hubbell would have an “oppourtunity” to try his luck with Jimmy Foxx who was going rack up 44 bombs in 1934 along the way to 534 career homers.

Apparantly Hubbell hadn’t read their resumes. He struck out the three of them (with a combined 1,739 career home runs) in succession. But Hubbell wasn’t finished. In the second inning, future Hall of Famer Al Simmons lead off for the National League, and Hubbell struck him out. Future Hall of Famer Joe Cronin was up next, and Hubbell struck him out as well. Finally, Bill Dickey (yes, another Hall of Famer) singled.Hubbell notched one more strikeout in the second inning. This time the victim was pitcher Lefty Gomez, who was also a future Hall of Famer, but not for his hitting prowess.

Completely overshadowed by Hubbell’s incredible pitching heroics, was the American League’s come from behind effort that featured a six run rally in the fifth inning (Hubbell pitched another inning of shutout ball in the third inning, and then watched Lon Warneke and Van Mungo blow the game in relief.)

First All-Star Game Babe Ruth Homers July 6, 1933

Ted Williams Walk Off Homer 1941 All-Star Game

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