Nobody can ever forget the day that Jackie Robinson, with his unforgettable number 42, took the field for the Brooklynn Dodgers, in the legendary Ebbets Fields, to break the color barrier in the majors.
But what some do not know, is that in the 1966 season, in the American League, Emmeth L. Ashford made his debut, becoming the first African-American umpire in the majors. The date was April 11, 1966, in the D.C. Washington Stadium that belongs to the Washington Senators, in a game against the Cleveland Indians.
Ashford quickly became a sensation, he was famous for running at full speed through the field after foul balls or on base plays. Ashford, also brought a new style, wearing jewelry, including flashy cuff links, and shoes perfectly polished, wearing freshly pressed suits to the games. The magazine » The Sporting News », declared that for the first time in history, baseball fans can buy a ticket to see a referee.
Emmeth would retire in 1970, at the age of 66, after having participated in the World Series between the Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles.
Ashford was in the NAVY during World War II. During the baseball offseason, Ashford also officiated at Pac-8 basketball games, college football and the Caribbean winter leagues.
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