First Black MLB Player on Every Team

by Vvvergeer - 16 cards (Last updated on Apr 20, 2021)

1. 1954 Topps #10 Jackie Robinson

First played for the Brooklyn Dodgers on 4/15/47.

No need to talk about the player, really. HOF. Rookie of the Year, 1947. MVP, 1949. Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient (posthumously). Hero.

Don't have this card and it will be the most expensive to get on this list. I have a 1956, but it's in the Last Topps Card of HOFer's display. I'm not too upset at the prospect of hunting another Robinson. Of course, a card from the 40s would be better here, but that just ain't gonna happen. I originally had the 1955 as my goal card, but the 54s don't seem tooooo much more expensive. So I'll go for that....someday.

2. 1958 Topps #424 Larry Doby

First played for the Cleveland Indians on 7/5/47.

Not as famous as Robinson, but a HOFer, nonetheless. Seven-time All-Star, two-time HR champion.

I have this card, my oldest Doby, and it will start in the display. I'll be hunting a 1950 Bowman to be permanently in this display. There are other, earlier, cards but they'd be prohibitively expensive.

3. 1950 Bowman #174 Hank Thompson

First played for the Saint Louis Browns on 7/17/47
First played for the New York Giants on 7/8/49.

The only player who was the first black player on two different teams. He was also the first black player to play in both the American and National League. And when he and Willard Brown appeared together, it was the first time two black players appeared on the field together. Not done -- he and Larry Doby created the first time there were black players facing each other on two opposing teams. And...when he faced Don Newcombe, it was the first time a black pitcher pitched to a black hitter in the "majors." Whew.
A fine player for nine years, with some MVP votes in two of them.

This is the first card I bought for this display. (Received 3/6/21) He doesn't have a Browns card, but I'll use this for the Browns and see the next entry for the Giants.

4. 1951 Topps Red Backs #50 Monte Irvin

First played for the New York Giants on 7/8/49.

So he got in the same game for the Giants as Hank Thompson, but Thompson started, and Irvin pinch-hit later. Another HOFer, who didn't get into the "major" leagues until he was 30 years old.

I have owned this card for years as part of my complete Red Backs set. I always forget it's in there. I won't anymore, when he gets into the display.

5. 1950 Bowman #248 Sam Jethroe

First played for the Boston Braves on 4/18/50.

Another great, pretty forgotten player. Only played three full years, but was Rookie of the Year in 1950 and led the league in steals for the first two years of his career. Joined the "majors" at the age of 33.

This is the second card I bought for this display. Received 3/8/21

6. 1952 Topps #195 Minnie Minoso

First played for the Chicago White Sox on 5/1/51.

I suspect he will get into the HOF someday. Possibly pretty soon. A career .298 hitter with nine All-Star appearances (in seven different years) and three Gold Gloves.

I have this card!? The wife bought it for me one birthday or Christmas. One corner is essentially missing. Ask me I care....No, I don't.

7. 1955 Topps #28 Ernie Banks

First played for the Chicago Cubs on 9/17/53.

Another HOFer who really needs no introduction. Mr. Cub, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, back-to-back MVPs, 512 HR when getting 500 meant something, one of the best personalities and shortstops in the game.

Thanks in great part to the wife, I have all the Topps regular Ernie Banks cards, except his rookie card, which has gotten way expensive during COVID. This card will do just fine, but if I ever get the rookie card, it will go into this display.

8. 1954 Topps #242 Curt Roberts

First played for Pittsburgh Pirates on 4/13/54.

Another player who was only in the "majors" for three years, totaling under 600 AB, with a career .223 BA.

Don't have this card. I suspect it will be among the next I pick up for this display. Should be pretty cheap and easy to find.

9. 1955 Bowman #257 Tom Alston

First played for the Saint Louis Cardinals on 4/13/54.

A .244 hitter over four partial seasons, totaling 271 AB.

This display will cause me to go outside of my collecting norms. I don't collect any non-Topps cards after 1950. But he doesn't have a Topps card. I can't really complain about getting a card or two from this classic set. Don't have it yet, though.

10. 1977 Fritsch One Year Winners #10 Nino Escalera

First played for the Cincinnati Redlegs on 4/17/54.

He pinch hit just before Chuck Harmon pinch-hit, so Escalera is the proper player for this display. Hit .159 in 77 AB that year and he was done.

He has no cards contemporaneous with his playing career and I'm not using a modern card. I just put this card in here, so he's represented. But using Chuck Harmon instead works just fine.



Mar 6, 2021 - 1:47AM

I didn't know Thompson was first for two different teams.  Thank you for teaching me something.

Mar 7, 2021 - 9:40AM

I. Love. This. List. 

Mar 15, 2021 - 9:29PM

Looks like you will have a fabulous card display.  Looking forward to seeing a picture of them displayed with the team logos etc.     

Thanks for the shoutout in your write up.

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