This week as part of Black History Month, we look back at the pioneers of Baseball and those that came 1st in Major League Baseball for each team. Today we recognize the final two teams and celebrate the final players – Ozzie Virgil Sr. and Pumpsie Green.
June 6th 1958 saw Ozzie Virgil Sr. make his debut with the Detroit Tigers. He went 5-5 in his first game before becoming a coach and father to MLB player Ozzie Jr. Ozzie Sr. was the first Dominican to play in the majors.
Some actually credit Larry Doby, who briefly joined the Tigers in 1959, as the club’s first African American.
4,480 days after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, every team in baseball had a black ballplayer, and then came Pumpsie Green.
Pumpsie Green would make his debut on July 21st 1959 playing for the Boston Red Sox. He would play 13 years of pro baseball. Green was a switch-hitter who threw right-handed and was used by Boston mostly as a pinch runner or utility infielder. Green enjoyed his best season in 1961, posting career highs in nearly every category; he also had the most errors of his career that year, with 16. He played his final game with the Mets in September 1963.