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  • January 20th, 2019

    Book Review: Waiting for Pumpsie
    by Barry Wittenstein

    Posted by Christine E. at 7:41 pm in Baseball,Book Reviews,Old Friends,Red Sox No Comments

    waiting-for-pumpsie-cvr largeWith Martin Luther King, Jr. Day coming up on Monday, it is very appropriate I was contacted recently to review a new children’s book about the very first black player to play for the Boston Red Sox: Elijah “Pumpsie” Green.

    It is also appropriate as 2019 marks the 60th anniversary of his call up from the minor leagues, with the Red Sox becoming the last MLB team to integrate.

    When the book arrived, by daughter, who is 7 (and has already made 3 treks to Fenway Park in her lifeline) and I were very excited to put this book into our library rotation, making sure we read it that very first night. My daughter was able to read it (with help from me), so I definitely recommend it for children at least 6 or older. It also provided a great opportunity to expand on the Civil Rights Movement, and the discussions on MLK that she had at school.With wonderful illustrations by London Ladd, Waiting for Pumpsie is a fictional account of a young boy named Bernard, that tells the real-life story of Pumpsie Green’s start with the Red Sox. Like many young boys in the 1950’s, Bernard loved watching baseball. It was 1959, and every other team, starting with Jackie Robinson who began playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers 12 years before, had integrated, and he was eagerly waiting for a player who looked like him to play for his beloved Sox.

    And it seemed like it would never happen; and then on July 21st Pumpsie Green got called up from the minors to head to Chicago with the team. Serving as pinch runner in that contest, he made history that day, a fact that was not lost on Bernard and his family as they listened to the game on the radio. On first game on their next homestand, Bernard’s father surprised the family with tickets to Fenway, where he was able to see his dream come true: Seeing a black player as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

    Available where all great books are sold, Waiting for Pumpsie is a great addition to any Red Sox fan’s library, old and young alike. Check it out!

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