The story of a baseball

Ball

Sam

Yes indeed, it is Sam Jethroe, much beloved former Toronto Maple Leaf outfielder 1955, 56 and 57. We saw Sam on his downward trajectory from the bigs.He led the NL in stolen bases in 1950 and 51 and was the oldest “rookie of the year” ever (age 33).

Sam because of Jim Crow probably shaved a few years off his age to even get a look. He was the first black ball player to play in Boston whose  redneck owner  waited till 1960 for the Sox to sign their first black player, Pumpsie Green.

The guy even in his late 30s could fly—the skinniest legs of any ball player i ever saw and the man with the shortest lead off.His speed was blinding.

The ball has an interesting story.

My former student at Mimico High, Jerry Farrell is a  ball nut and when Sam fell on hard times (he ended up a barber in Erie,Pa,) Jerry heard the story, drove to Erie  and gave Sam $500.00.Sam gave him the autographed ball and Jerry gave it to me. Now I use it to play catch with my grandkids.

Sammy Ferris, a great hitter from our city championship teams of ’61 and ’62 was horrified that I use the ball to play catch with Doug and John my grandsons.I told him to me it’s just a ball. My memories are deeper than an object like this. I think Sam would smile watching the joy I get just tossing his ball to these young Blue Jay fans.

Samuel Jethroe (Jet)

Position: Centerfielder
Bats: Both, Throws: Right
Height: 6′ 1″, Weight: 178 lb.

Born: January 23, 1917 in Lowndes County, MS
High School: Lincoln HS (East St. Louis, IL)
Signed as a Free Agent with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948. (All Transactions)
Debut: April 18, 1950 (Age 33.085, 8,238th in MLB history) vs. NYG 4 AB, 2 H, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB
Rookie Status: Exceeded rookie limits during 1950 season [*]
Teams : Braves/Pirates 1950-1954

Last Game: April 15, 1954 (Age 37.082) vs. BRO 1 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB
Died: June 16, 2001 in Erie, PA (Aged 84.144)
Buried: Erie Cemetery, Erie, PA

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2 Comments »

  1. 1
    mushafta Says:

    I recall my dad taking me to see the Toronto Maple Leaf baseball team in 1960. I had no idea what was happening in life then Sparky Anderson was the player/coach and he was an old man, yet coached forever as I recall becoming a legend.
    Racism has never really been resolved in the U.S. as that country now slides deeper into a terrible slate of social ills as we watch on.

    Ignorance.

  2. 2
    mushafta Says:

    Woeful Ignorance!

    That’s what we have on this continent.
    What Ted brings here is refreshingly quite the opposite.

    All thanks to the Internet.
    A patchwork of multi coloured quilt of truth about the power of politics and religion all in a Scarborough Ontario vineyard where the vines reach out from the basement to the far corners of Mother Earth. It could have been predicted a VW like German mind so carefully crafted over countless years of working with the indoctrination of gifted minds and his passion for social justice following the world’s greatest war and the unmerciful scars that never healed, knew exactly how to package a message and get it out.

    Most people never enter this vineyard. Too caught up in the mad world of consumerism and self gratification. Too ill educated to even dissect a newspaper let alone a trite conversation on world politics.

    With such mindless Americans worshipping a total nut job billionaire who Trumps even the rock star popularity of the greatest pope to come from the Argentinian slums to the powerful Vatican palace of Christian authority- here lies a treasure of truth that few will discover.

    People will come here and wonder why Ted brow beats the reader with stories of Palestinian slaughter of innocents. Time and time again they leave here with their heads spinning in wonder. “What’s he got against the Jews?”

    I caught up with a politician this weekend who announced to me his take on the Middle East and Canada’s relationship with so many fallen Islamic states . It was all so simple. Simple religion. Simple politics. Iran has to go. It can no longer be allowed to exist. His words in a nutshell.

    A day later I came across a young and very bright female Iranian professor here at the university on a short exchange program. Brilliant mind! Brilliant. You contrast the woeful invincible ignorance of a bigoted racist mind of a very bright Conservative politician and you begin to wonder where this world will be if we as Canadians do not remove Harper from power.

    And today, another story about Canada’s concern about its arms deal with Saudi given the potential for trouble and its glowing human rights record.

    Ya just gotta keep the great stories coming Teddy boy! Keep reading those books and keep cranking out the quilt!


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