Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Pumpsie Green

(Born October 27, 1933) -- Elijah Green might have had one of the most unusual nicknames in sports history. Have you ever heard of anyone else named Pumpsie?

Green was born in Oklahoma and his mom gave him his nickname at a young age. His brother, Cornell, was a defensive back in the National Football League for Dallas.

Pumpsie signed to play professionally in 1953, and joined the Red Sox organization in 1955. In 1959, he was called up from the minors and played in his first game in the majors ... making history in the process. Green was the first African American ever to play for Boston, the last major-league team to integrate. While with the Red Sox, he became quite close to the legendary Ted Williams.

Green was traded to the New York Mets after the 1962 season, and was assigned to the Buffalo Bisons. Here he played in 130 games and hit .308. Green also spent parts of 1964 and 1965 as a Bison.

He retired after that 1965 season and became a teacher and coach. He threw out the first pitch before the Red Sox game on Jackie Robinson Day earlier this year, and is still fondly remembered by Boston fans.

--- Budd Bailey


comments powered by Disqus

About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.