BOSTON - Former Boston Red Sox infielder Elijah "Pumpsie" Green, the first black player on the last major league team to field one, has died. He was 85.
A Red Sox spokesman confirmed the death Wednesday night, and the team observed a moment of silence before its game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Green, who was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2018, had been living in California.
A speedy but light-hitting utilityman, Green brought baseball's segregation era to an end of sorts when he took the field against the Chicago White Sox on July 21, 1959 — more than a dozen years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Green said he remembered receiving a standing ovation when he came to the plate for the first time at Fenway Park. "It was heart-warming and nerve-racking," he told reporters in 1997.