1951 Bowman Sam Jethroe 242 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾
The Braves have their own Hall of Fame as most major league teams do. As as institution, the Braves Hall of Fame is hard to take seriously because they have chosen to ignore large portions of team history. If I’m spitballing, the names off the top of my head that belong include Rico Carty, Joe Torre, Bob Horner, Gene Garber, Ron Gant, Jim Whitney, Terry Pendleton, Wally Berger, Johnny Logan, Joe Adcock, Bob Elliott, and the two most egregious omissions, Lew Burdette and Sam Jethroe.
Neither exclusion makes a lick of sense, but for purely historical reasons, the exclusion of Jethroe rankles. Sam Jethroe integrated the Boston Braves a full nine years before the crosstown Red Sox would integrate, and far too late for Jethroe to have the major league career he deserved. He played in the Negro Leagues pre-integration. He played well in the Dodgers system but they didn’t have a spot for him. Finally, he got to play big league ball in 1950 for the Braves and won Rookie of the Year. He was 33 years old with declining eyesight, but the Jet was just that good, even if he only had a few years left in the tank.
He went through exactly what you think he would have went through in his quest to be a big leaguer. Bigoted fans and opponents. Forced into being a loner in his own clubhouse. Even if you discard his rookie of the year season, Jethroe deserves the honor because he was the first player to endure integration with the franchise. If that alone isn’t worthy of having a Hall of Fame, what exactly is the point?