The Obit For Sam Jethroe

Sam ''The Jet'' Jethroe, Dies at 83

ERIE, Pa. (AP) -- Sam Jethroe, one of the first black baseball players in the major leagues and the oldest player to win rookie of the year honors, died Saturday. He was 83.

Jethroe, nicknamed ''The Jet'' for his speed, was the first black player on the Boston Braves when he made his major league debut in 1950. He was named Rookie of the Year that season at the age of 32. He batted .273 with 18 home runs, 58 RBIs and 35 stolen bases.

Jethroe played three seasons for the Boston Braves (1950-52) and two games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1954. In two of his three years in the majors, he led the National League in stolen bases.

After playing in the major leagues, Jethroe returned to the minor leagues, where he played another seven years.

He ended his major league career with a .261 average, 49 homers, 181 RBIs and 98 stolen bases.

Born in East St. Louis, Ill., on Jan. 20, 1918, Jethroe was one of three black players to tryout for the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park in 1945. He was turned away, along with Marvin Williams and Jackie Robinson.

Before playing for Boston, he Jethroe competed for several years in the Negro Leagues and 1 years with Montreal of the International League.

After his baseball career ended, Jethroe settled in Erie, where he tended bar to support himself and his family.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete, according to a spokesman at Law Funeral Home in Erie, Pa.