Today in History: Emmet Ashford Became the first African American Major League Umpire

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Mr. Emmitt Ashford


On this day, April 12, 1966, Emmet Ashford became the first African American major league umpire. When he was named to the American League, Emmett

Littleton Ashford nicknamed “Ash”, was the first African American umpire in Major League Baseball, he worked in the league from 1966 to 1970.

He also served as umpire-in-chief for the Alaskan Summer League for three years. Ashford died of a heart attack at age 65 in Marina Del Rey, California.

Upon his death, Bowie Kuhn issued a statement, saying, “As the first black umpire in the major leagues, his magnanimous nature was sternly tested, but he was unshaken and uncomplaining, remaining the colorful, lively personality he was all his life.

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