Pumpsie Green, first black player in Boston Red Sox history, dies at 85

Elijah "Pumpsie" Green, the first black player in Boston Red Sox history, passed away Wednesday at the age of 85. 

Green broke the organization's color barrier in 1959, making the team the final pre-expansion club to integrate a minority player. Jackie Robinson famously became the first black player to play in the major leagues, doing so in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. 

The Red Sox, under former owner Tom Yawkey, were linked to racism allegations since he continued to field all-white teams in the years after Robinson's — and others' — emergence in baseball. 

Green rectified that on July 21, 1959, when he made his major league debut after being invited to spring training earlier that year.

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Elijah "Pumpsie" Green throws out a ceremonial first pitch for Boston's game against the Orioles. (Photo: Charles Krupa, AP)

The infielder's career was lackluster; he stopped playing after the 1963 season, which he spent with the New York Mets, and retired in 1965 with 13 career home runs and a .246 batting average.

With his playing days behind him, Green worked at a school in Berkeley, California. The Red Sox invited him back to Fenway Park in 2009 for a first-pitch ceremony to commemorate the 50 years since he broke the organization's color barrier. Green also tossed the first pitch in 2012 for Jackie Robinson Day and was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame last year.

A moment of silence was held before Wednesday night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

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