BiographySam Jethroe was born on Jan. 20, 1918 in East St. Louis, Ill. He made his Major League debut in 1950 as the first African-American to play baseball in the Braves organization, and one of the first Negro League Players to break Major League Baseball's color barrier. In his rookie campaign, Jethroe, otherwise known as "The Jet," hit .273 with 35 steals that figured in to 257 total bases. These stats lead him to the National League Rookie of the Year, which he still holds the distinction as the oldest player to receive this award, as Sam was 32 in his first season. By the end of his Major League career, he had accumulated a .261 average, 49 home runs, 181 RBIs and 98 stolen bases in 442 games. After his Major League career had ended, he played for seven more seasons in the Minor Leagues. He is credited with being the only player to hit a ball over the 472-foot left-field fence at Toledo's Swayne Field and into the coal piles of the Red Man Tobacco Factory. During the 1948-49 seasons, he played for Montreal of the International Association. In 1949, he stole 89 bases drove in 83 runs while batting .326. Jethroe died in Erie, Pa. on June 18, 2001.
Braves Career HighlightsIn 1950, in his first season in the Majors, Jethroe hit .273 with 18 home runs 58 and runs batted. His 35 stolen bases were enough to lead the National League. He stole 35 bases again in 1951 and, once again, led the National League. In 1952, problems seemed to set in for Jethroe. All of his numbers tumbled and the rumors were that he had vision problems. There were also rumors that he was really older than his listed age.
Sam posted a .261 batting average with 49 home runs and 181 RBIs in 440 games with the Braves.
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