Click onto pictures for Internet access.. PLAY BALL!
The last of the firsts is such a cute play on words; using phraseology as a double entendre, last of the firsts has an implied ambiguous meaning of celebration and of a celebration ending.
The last of the firsts, just like this written thought compels and propels the inquiring mind, [as with any strenuous activity, stretching and warming up is a pre-requisite <mental energy is strenuous>] the following contains our mental workout.
Exchange the phrase last of the firsts with, the truth is out there, and it will help you uncover the various layers of this story. Let’s get ready..! to pre-amble.
Explore this story, it will repeat like a repeating decimal and baseball is a game of numbers, this story will forever be repeated. Pumpsie is Elijah Jerry Green, the first Black Man to play baseball for the Boston Red Sox.
(Even today and perpetually let’s eradicate the phrase Black baseball player)
This year, 2012 the Red Sox celebrate 100 years of playing baseball at Fenway Park which is famous for the 37 foot high outfield wall affectionately called the Green Monster.
The last first, refers to the Boston Red Sox infamous claim as the last team to integrate their major league playing roster. The date was July, 21st 1959, a full 12 years after the great Jackie Robinson broke
I am an old school Red Sox fan, and I carry all that being an old school fan of this team meant, losing. Losing teams is the legacy that I grew up with and the Red Sox were a losing team for 86 years, 1918 until 2004.
I do have vivid memories of 1967, the year of Jim lonborg, Carl Yastrzemski, (Yaz) and the team called impossible dream losing the “67” World Series.
Carl Yastrzemski still holds the title of the last player to achieve baseball’s Triple Crown, highest batting average, most Home Runs and the most runs batted in.
The “67” Triple Crown connects to 1978, the historic year of the last Triple Crown achieved in horse racing by the famous racehorse Affirmed.
Affirmed beat the same great horse Alydar which finished 2nd in each race mimicking the historic 1 game playoff loss at Fenway Park to the New York Yankees, in what’s forever known as the Bucky Dent game.
I celebrate my 1 year blogging anniversary, by commemorating the
Mr. Riley snapped me out of mediocrity.
It all came to fruition one Sunday morning on a ESPN television show called the Sports Reporters.
That morning I heard Ralph Wiley coin the phase Pumpsie and the Green Monster within a profound oration, enlightening and educating me.
I learned of the last Black Major League baseball player to become the first Black player on a team, my favorite team the Boston Red Sox.
I learned this fact; to my chagrin, in 2004 which somehow feels like just yesterday.
I remember my parents had encouraged me to support the local team and in particular to cheer for the Black Players on the team, my favorites were first basemen George Scott and outfielder Reggie Smith.
“Could it be that it was all so simple then, has time re-written every line” and wouldn’t life be so easy if everything was Black and White.
My love for the Red Sox and for the Human Race (thank God for my Mother and Father) is not based on color.
This Memory Lane has conjunctions at nearly every punctuation from Minnie Riperton to another baseball legend Minnie Minoso.
The tree’s lining the periphery of this memory lane.. bear a strange fruit, a strange fruit indeed.. regression, no.. it’s history, a history that bears repeating unless.. repeat we do, my story digress.. to release the stress.. I think of a beautiful golden dress.. and face.. and voice.. a wordsmith’s press would declare this a (Billie) Holiday!
And still I rise, visions of great conversations with my Father about the gator teeth George Scott wore on a necklace and my Mother’s pronunciation of Carl Yastrzemski’s last name.
I can only imagine the feelings that Mr. Green must have when looking back on his Boston playing days, controlling the human monster is the biggest challenge we all must face.
There is no mistaking the left field wall at Fenway Park, no matter what color your skin is, the wall gives and the wall takes.
2 of a kind. Honored In Boston – Pumpsie Green and Sharon Robinson (Daughter of Jackie Roberson #42)
Once I saw on tv, Red Sox Legend Jim Rice hit the ball so hard at the Green Monster it was as if he was trying to knock it down, at any other baseball field the ball would travel over 500 feet, at Fenway it almost bounced all the way back to second base, I still call it the longest ball hit for a single.
How about the irony of the 1975 baseball season (the greatest losing season..ever!) when the Red Sox were led by the great duo’s of Fred Lynn and Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk and Luis Tiant, White Men and Black Men that to this day seem to be real brothers.
The Green Monster takes and it also gives, as it did in 1978 when a seemingly pop up to left field just barely makes it over the wall for a game changing home run by the aforementioned Bucky Dent.
Take me out to the ball game, it’s time for the 7th inning stretch and it’s time to close this chapter. Click the highlighted phases and the pictures to better enjoy this Internet run around the bases.
The Red Sox have had recent success with World Series victory’s in 2004 and 2007, neither of which were seen by Mr. Ralph Wiley who died in early 2004.
Pumpsie Green was immortalized by Ralph Wiley when he included him as part of the curse of the Bambino and stated the curse could also be called
Pumpsie and the Green Monster.
Ignorance is bliss when I think back to my first visit to Fenway Park, August, 1st 1973. It’s easy to remember the date due to a remarkable fight at home plate between Carlton Fisk and Thurman Monson of the New York Yankee’s.
The Parks and Recreation department chartered a bus and purchased a bloc of tickets (that’s right you guessed it) right behind home plate.
When I walked into the Fenway Park I was not aware of Pumpsie Greens’ story, my eyes fixed on the Green Monster in left field, in fact the entire stadium is an unforgettable sight.
My feelings couldn’t have differed much from Pumpsie Greens’, when he first walked into the ball park and looked straight at the Green Monster, I said dang that thing is big!
Hooray for Pumpsie Green, you dignify what had to be one of the toughest transitions to make, the last person to be the first person to break through a color barrier to play on a Major League Baseball team.
Man that is so cool.. it makes you want to click your heels 3 times and say.. there’s sho’ nuff.. a play on.. to steal HOME.
Contact John G. Dewberry
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