Elijah “Pumpsie” Green, the first black player on the Boston Red Sox, has died. He was 85. Green played parts of four seasons with the Red Sox and one with the New York Mets from 1959-63, batting .246 with 13 homers and 74 RBIs. But his place in history was made when he stepped on the field as a pinch-runner against the Chicago White Sox on July 21, 1959. The Red Sox were the last team in the major leagues to field a black player.
The only time I saw Gary Carter in person was the year he was inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame, in 2003. It wasn’t at the induction ceremony, but in Cooperstown that same weekend.
For most of the 1980s, I would travel on a bus from Albany, NY, to my hometown of Binghamton, NY to attend an annual Halloween party, held by a high school friend of mine and her then-husband. The only way to get there was by Greyhound bus, and there must have been some sort of labor dispute in 1986, because they had replacement drivers. I remember the driver on the return trip to Albany get off the wrong Oneonta exit, riding through parts of the city not usually traversed on that route, and ending up in parts of the SUNY Cobleskill campus I had never seen before; two or three passengers, including myself, ended up being the navigators during a torrential downpour.