It took 2,559 days after Jackie Robinson’s debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers for Major League Baseball to have its 42nd Black player appear in a game. Those seven years and two days saw 11 of the league’s 16 franchises integrate. The Boston Red Sox were the last to do so with Pumpsie Green in July 1959, more than five years after the color barrier was broken 42 times.
During the first 85 months of the MLB’s first 42 Black players taking the field, several Baseball Hall of Famers made their league debuts, paving the way for many stars after them. Some on the list also appeared in only a few MLB games. A special shoutout goes to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, which was an exceptional resource in helping compile this list. Here are the first 42 Black players to participate in an MLB game.
Note: The 41st, 42nd and 43rd Black major leaguers all made their debuts on the same day, almost at the exact same time.