Sam Jethroe; 1st Black on Boston Braves and Rookie of Year Winner

Sam Jethroe, 83, one of the first black baseball players in the major leagues and the oldest player to win rookie of the year honors, died Saturday in Erie, Pa.

Jethroe, nicknamed "The Jet" for his speed, was the first black player on the Boston Braves when he made his major league debut in 1950. He was named rookie of the year that season at age 32. He batted .273 with 18 home runs, 58 RBIs and 35 stolen bases.

Jethroe played three seasons for the Boston Braves (1950-52) and two games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1954. In two of his three years in the majors, he led the National League in stolen bases.

Before playing for Boston, Jethroe competed for several years in the Negro Leagues and 1 1/2 years with Montreal of the International League.

After playing in the major leagues, Jethroe returned to the minor leagues, where he played another seven years.

He ended his major league career with a .261 average, 49 homers, 181 RBIs and 98 stolen bases.

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