Sam Jethroe became the first Atlanta Braves Black Player in 1950.

Meet Sam Jethroe

Born on January 23, 1917, Samuel Jethroe, also known as “The Jet,” was an American professional baseball player who played as a center fielder in both the Negro League and the MLB. Between 1942 and 1948, he batted.340 for the Cincinnati & Cleveland Buckeyes, winning two batting titles, two pennants, and the 1945 Negro World Series title.

In his first two seasons with the Boston Braves, he was voted the National League’s Rookie of the Year and led the league in stolen bases.

Sam Jethroe Career

World War II deferred Jethroe’s service because he was physically unfit. He batted .291 and led the league in doubles (8) and triples (4) in 1943.   Took home the league’s most stolen bases with 18 in 1944, leading the league in batting average with .353.

He became the first black player on the Atlanta Braves roster on April 18, 1950, and hit two hits, including a homer. His 35 stolen bases were the most by a Brave since Hap Myers stole 57 in 1913; he was elected Rookie of the Year at the age of 32 (despite the fact that he was previously thought to be 28 years old).

He is still the oldest player to win Rookie of the Year accolades in the history of the league.  In 1951, Jethroe had an essentially comparable but slightly improved season, with better batting (.280), runs (101), RBI (65), hits (160), doubles (29), and triples (10), as well as 18 homers.


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