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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

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