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Sam Jethroe

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  • metrotheme
    replied
    About two weeks ago, I spoke with one of Jethroe's negro league teammates Satchel Davis who is 88 and sounds like he's going strong. I asked him about Jethroe and he said Jethroe was past his prime when he got to the majors, and might have fibbed about his age to get in. Jethroe had a ton of miles on his body from all of the travelling in the Negro Leagues and suspect playing conditions. He played on the Buckeyes w/ Jethroe when they won the Negro League championship and he said Jethroe was an excellent player then.

    Quincy Trouppe speaks a bit on Jethroe too in his book 20 yrs too soon.

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  • Dave
    replied
    Sam Jethroe

    I asked Billy Bruton, the man who replaced Sam Jethroe, why Sam was optioned down to Toledo by the Braves. He laughed and said "I was better". Not exactly the in depth answer/analysis I was hoping for.

    Eddie Mathews, in his autobiography Eddie Mathews and the National Pastime, offers somewhat more insight.
    1. "he could run faster than anybody, but he wasn't a great fielder".
    2. In a game against the Dodgers, with the bases loaded, the count 3-1, and with the take sign on, he swung and missed at a pitch "up around his eyes......on the next pitch he popped up". (Sam finished 2nd, 4th and 2nd in strikeouts in his three years, with a high of 112 in '52. Mathews led the league with115.)

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  • ACrank
    replied
    i wanted to add that one year some group sold shirts with a repo of his rookie of the year card on the front and the #5 on the back - at the time i thought i was the only caucasian who purchased one, but since then i have been proven wrong...

    i wish i had met Mr Jethroe when i was young - it would have been fascinating to hear his stories...

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  • tonypug
    replied
    Originally posted by ACrank
    For what it is worth - he retired to my home town and opened up a Bar/Restaurant called "Jethroe's", and the same day MLB retired Jackie Robinson's number thru all of baseball, the local minor league franchise saw fit to retire Sam's number - and the two are side by side on the LF wall of the local ball park (& when the local minor league team honors the Negro Leagues every year, Sam's story is retold to the fans who follow the team and the sport).
    Good story. Sam did have that one good year, and won Rookie of the Year, just Like Jackie.

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  • ACrank
    replied
    For what it is worth - he retired to my home town and opened up a Bar/Restaurant called "Jethroe's", and the same day MLB retired Jackie Robinson's number thru all of baseball, the local minor league franchise saw fit to retire Sam's number - and the two are side by side on the LF wall of the local ball park (& when the local minor league team honors the Negro Leagues every year, Sam's story is retold to the fans who follow the team and the sport).

    Leave a comment:


  • JACKIE42
    replied
    Sam Jethroe was known as "the Jet" to many, a nod to his great speed. But to his first manager in the Bigs, Boston’s Billy Southworth, he was Sambo. It wasn’t easy to be the man who integrated the Braves.

    The man who did it was born in 1922 in East St. Louis, Illinois. He broke into the Negro Leagues at the age of 16 as a catcher with the Indianapolis ABC’s. That was just for a cup of coffee. When he rejoined the Negro Leagues four years later in 1942, he hit the prime time, making the East-West (All Star) Game as an outfielder in his first season of full-time play.

    From 1943 to 1948 Jethroe played for the Cleveland Buckeyes of the Negro American League. He was an excellent young player, pacing the league in BA twice (.393 in 1944) and steals three times (52 in 1947).

    In 1945 the Boston Red Sox, bowing to media pressure, gave try-outs to Jethroe, Jackie Robinson and fellow Negro Leaguer Marvin Williams. It was just for show, the Red Sox would be the last team to integrate , with Pumpsie Green in 1959.

    In 1948 Jethroe moved from the Negro Leagues to Montreal, the top farm team in the Brooklyn system. During the offseason he played with Almendares in the Cuban League, and broke the great Oscar Charleston’s Cuban stolen base record. He returned to Montreal for 1949 and lead the International League in steals with 89.

    At this point he had caught the eyes of Boston management and the Braves acquired him for the 1950 season. He rewarded them right away with a Rookie of the Year campaign, highlighted by his league-leading 35 steals. He repeated his 35 steals the following season, once again to lead the league, but in 1952 he fell upon hard time and could only manage a .232 average.

    His years in Boston were difficult ones. While the Braves were the third team to integrate in the National League, they didn’t give Jethroe the same support that former-Negro Leaguers in Brooklyn and New York received. His own manager assaulted him with racial slurs. He was isolated by his teammates. And many felt he wasn’t given a fair chance to overcome his difficulties in 1952.

    After a good season in the minors in 1953, he was up for two games with the Pirates in 1954. He spent the next five years at Toronto in the International League, never getting another chance despite being amongst the leaders in hits and runs during that span.

    from www.baseball-reference.com




    .

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  • tonypug
    started a topic Sam Jethroe

    Sam Jethroe

    The Boston Red Sox were the last franchise to employ a Black ballplayer.The Boston Braves were one of the first. Outfielder Sam Jethroe came up in 1950 and won the Rookie of the Year award. He had three good seasons 1950-1952. he had decent power and great speed. Suddenly after 1952 he appeared in only 2 more major league games with Pittsburgh in 1954.Does any one know what happened to Jethroe after 1952? He was 32 when he came up.

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