List of first black Major League Baseball players
The baseball color line excluded players of black African descent from Major League Baseball and its affiliated Minor Leagues until 1947 (with a few notable exceptions in the 19th century before the line was firmly established).
Before 1885 at least three African-American men played in the major leagues--William Edward White, whose light skin color allowed him pass as white, played one game for the Providence Grays in 1879; Moses Fleetwood Walker, an openly black man who played for the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association between May 1 and September 4, 1884; and his brother, Weldy Walker, who played five games with the Toledo club between July 15 and August 6, 1884. Baseball officials essentially drew the color line against Fleetwood Walker. African-Americans had been excluded from major league baseball since 1884 and from white professional minor league teams since 1889. Following the 1891 season, the Ansonia Cuban Giants, a team composed of African-American players, were expelled from the Connecticut State League, the last white minor league to have a black team.
The Brooklyn Dodgers broke the 63-year color line when they started future Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson at first base on Opening Day, April 15, 1947. The Boston Red Sox were the last team to break the line, when they inserted Pumpsie Green as an eighth-inning pinch runner in a July 21, 1959 game at Chicago.
|Player||Team||League||First game||Last game|
|William Edward White||Providence Grays||NL||June 21, 1879||June 21, 1879|
|Moses Fleetwood Walker||Toledo Blue Stockings||AA||May 1, 1884||September 4, 1884|
|Weldy Walker||Toledo Blue Stockings||AA||July 15, 1884||August 6, 1884|
|†||Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame|
Below is a list of the first 20 black players in Major League Baseball since Moses Fleetwood Walker's last major league appearance.
|Jackie Robinson †||Brooklyn Dodgers||NL||April 15, 1947|
|Larry Doby †||Cleveland Indians||AL||July 5, 1947|
|Hank Thompson||St. Louis Browns||AL||July 17, 1947|
|Willard Brown †||St. Louis Browns||AL||July 19, 1947|
|Dan Bankhead||Brooklyn Dodgers||NL||August 26, 1947|
|Roy Campanella †||Brooklyn Dodgers||NL||April 20, 1948|
|Satchel Paige †||Cleveland Indians||AL||July 9, 1948|
|Minnie Miñoso||Cleveland Indians||AL||April 19, 1949|
|Don Newcombe||Brooklyn Dodgers||NL||May 20, 1949|
|Monte Irvin †||New York Giants||NL||July 8, 1949|
|Luke Easter||Cleveland Indians||AL||August 11, 1949|
|Sam Jethroe||Boston Braves||NL||April 18, 1950|
|Luis Márquez||Boston Braves||NL||April 18, 1951|
|Ray Noble||New York Giants||NL|
|Artie Wilson||New York Giants||NL|
|Harry Simpson||Cleveland Indians||AL||April 21, 1951|
|Willie Mays †||New York Giants||NL||May 25, 1951|
|Sam Hairston||Chicago White Sox||AL||July 21, 1951|
|Bob Boyd||Chicago White Sox||AL||September 8, 1951|
|Sam Jones||Cleveland Indians||AL||September 22, 1951|
- Note: Johnny Wright was the second black player signed to a contract by the Dodgers, and was on the roster of the 1946 Montreal Royals at the same time as Jackie Robinson, but never played in the Major Leagues.
- Teams are listed by franchise; i.e., teams that relocated to a new city after already breaking the color line are not listed a second time.
- Expansion teams that joined the National and American Leagues after 1961 have been integrated from their first game and are not listed.
|Brooklyn Dodgers||NL||April 15, 1947||Jackie Robinson †|
|Cleveland Indians||AL||July 5, 1947||Larry Doby †|
|St. Louis Browns||AL||July 17, 1947||Hank Thompson|
|New York Giants||NL||July 8, 1949‡||Hank Thompson|
|Monte Irvin †|
|Boston Braves||NL||April 18, 1950||Sam Jethroe|
|Chicago White Sox||AL||May 1, 1951||Minnie Miñoso|
|Philadelphia Athletics||AL||September 13, 1953||Bob Trice|
|Chicago Cubs||NL||September 17, 1953||Ernie Banks †|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||NL||April 13, 1954||Curt Roberts*|
|St. Louis Cardinals||NL||April 13, 1954||Tom Alston|
|Cincinnati Reds||NL||April 17, 1954||Nino Escalera|
|Washington Senators||AL||September 6, 1954||Carlos Paula|
|New York Yankees||AL||April 14, 1955||Elston Howard|
|Philadelphia Phillies||NL||April 22, 1957||John Kennedy|
|Detroit Tigers||AL||June 6, 1958||Ozzie Virgil, Sr.|
|Boston Red Sox||AL||July 21, 1959||Pumpsie Green|
* Major League Baseball recognizes Curt Roberts as the Pirates' first black player; however, Carlos Bernier of Puerto Rico, also a black man, debuted on April 22, 1953.
‡ Thompson and Irvin broke in with the Giants during the same game on July 8, 1949. Thompson was the starting third baseman, and Irvin pinch hit in the eighth.
- Men Kleinknecht. "Integration of Baseball After World War II". Society for American Baseball Research.
- O'Connell, Jack (2007-04-13). "Robinson's many peers follow his lead". MLB.com. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
- Tygiel, Jules (1983), Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy, New York: Oxford University Press, p. 329, ISBN 0195033000