First Black MLB Player on Every Team

by Vvvergeer - 16 cards (Last updated on Nov 23, 2022)

1. 1955 Topps #50 Jackie Robinson

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

Nothing intelligent to say here. Fantastic player; American hero.

I have a 1956 Robinson in the Last Topps Card display. Here, obviously, a 1940's card would have been ideal. That wasn't gonna happen. Tried for a 1954, but even that was too much for my blood. So I settled on a 1955. It had to be ungraded to fit in my display, but I bought it from a very reliable source. It is beautiful, except for a small pinhole. That's fine by me.

2. 1950 Bowman #39 Larry Doby

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

Not as famous as Robinson, but only a few months behind him as the first black player in the American League. He suffered all the same indignities, with way less renown. Another Hall of Famer who was a seven-time all-star and two-time home run leader.

I did have a 1958 Topps as a placeholder here, formerly my oldest Doby. But on 1/8/22, thanks to Mom-in-law’s Christmas gift, I purchased a 1950 Bowman. Not his first year, but others would be prohibitively expensive. I’m perfectly happy with the choice.

3. 1950 Bowman #174 Henry 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 Orestes Minoso

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

A career .298 hitter with nine All-Star appearances (in seven different years) and three Gold Gloves….and now another Hall of Famer.

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. 1954 Topps #148 Bob Trice

First played for the Philadelphia Athletics on 9/13/53.

The only pitcher on this list. Not a great one in three seasons in the "majors," but he was good hitter, at .288.

I had a 1955 when I started this list, but on April 8, 2021, I picked up his first card, with the A's.

8. 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.

9. 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.

Picked up this card on 8/14/21 in reasonable shape.

10. 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 caused 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.

Ordered through eBay on 1/4/22



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.

Jan 2, 2022 - 6:11PM

You can update your Minnie Minoso comment to identify him as a HOFer unless you are waiting for his induction, in which case you could call him a HOF selectee.  Great list!

Jan 11, 2022 - 10:44AM

Great list and history lesson. Would like to see the display cases for your lists

Aug 24, 2022 - 3:55PM

very cool list

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