11 Feb

worth noting

From the Things Discovered While Looking Up Other Things file: Until fairly recently, baseball reference works listed Sam Jethroe — a Negro Leagues star of the 1940s and the National League’s rookie of the year in 1950 — as being born in 1922 in East St. Louis, Ill. At some point, additional research turned up the fact that Jethroe was actually born on Jan. 23, 1917, in Lowndes County, Miss. (Some sites say he was born in Columbus.) So, this means we can add Jethroe’s name to the impressive array of Mississippi natives who starred in the Negro Leagues before the game was integrated: Cool Papa Bell, Sam Hairston, Howard Easterling, Rufus Lewis, Luke Easter, Bob Boyd, et al. Jethroe, who died in 2001, was nicknamed “The Jet” and may have rivaled Hall of Famer Bell for pure speed. Former big league star Don Newcombe called Jethroe “the fastest human being I have ever seen,” and a Negro Leagues contemporary claimed Jethroe could “outrun the word of God,” per The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Leagues. He was a five-time All-Star for the Cleveland (Ohio) Buckeyes in the Negro Leagues and won a title in 1945 (teaming with Jackson native Buddy Armour). Jethroe also won a minor league championship with Montreal in 1949 and became the first African-American player on the Boston Braves in 1950 at age 33. In three years with that club, he batted .261 with 98 steals and 58 homers. He played a couple of games in 1954 with Pittsburgh, then returned to the minors and later to semi-pro ball.

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