June 16: On this day in 2001, Sam Jethroe died in Erie, Penn.
Jethroe, who played for the Cleveland Buckeyes — among other teams — in the Negro leagues, and for the Boston Braves (1950-52) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1954) in the majors, played three seasons in Cuba.
He played for Almendares in 1947-48 and 1948-49, leading the Cuban League in stolen bases both seasons with 22 and 32 steals, respectively, according to Who’s Who in Cuban Baseball, 1878-1961. And his 1948-49 squad won the Cuban League pennant. He also played for Cienfuegos in 1954-55.
In the majors, Jethroe, at age 32, became the oldest rookie of the year when he won the award in 1950 with the Braves.