This Day in Pop Culture for July 21

Pumpsie Green

1959: The Red Sox’s First Black Player

Elijah Jerry “Pumpsie” Green was born in Boley, Oklahoma on October 27, 1933. He became the oldest of five siblings. His brother Cornell became a long-time safety for the Dallas Cowboys. His brother Credell was drafted by the Green Bay Packers. He himself took on three different sports at El Cerrito High School and was offered a baseball scholarship at Fresno State University. However, he instead followed his high school coach to Contra Costa College who promised Green a shortstop position. After playing in the minor leagues for a few years, Green was invited to the Boston Red Sox’s major league spring training camp. Green became the first black player of the Red Sox which at the time, was the last team to integrate. His first game was held on this day in 1959 against the White Sox. He retired from the game after the 1965 season. He was inducted to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in May of 2018 but sadly passed away on July 17, 2019 60 years after joining the Red Sox.


  • 1924: Don Knotts (actor)
  • 1948: Cat Stevens (singer)
  • 1951: Robin Williams (actor)
  • 1955: Taco (singer)
  • 1957: Jon Lovitz (comedian)
  • 1986: Rebecca Ferguson (singer)
  • 1988: KB (rapper)

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