Over the weekend Major League Baseball celebrated the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier and becoming the league's first black player. It's worth noting, though, that many teams took much longer to integrate. On this day in 1954 the Reds finally debuted their first black players, as Nino Escalera and Chuck Harmon both entered the game as pinch hitters in a 5-1 loss to the Braves in Milwaukee.
Neither Escalera or Harmon had long major league careers ahead of them: 1954 was Escalera's only season in the big leagues and Harmon was done after just 289 career games in 1957. But both of them played a small part in paving the way for generations that have followed.
The Braves, for what it's worth, already had three black players in the lineup on this day: Hank Aaron and Bill Bruton both started in the outfield, and Jim Pendleton joined them later in the game.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:
- 2004 Brewer Gary Bennett, who turns 40.
- 1998-2000 Brewer Marquis Grissom, who turns 45.
- 1985 Brewer Dave Huppert, who turns 55.
- 1973-76 Brewer Pedro Garcia, who turns 62.
- 1970-71 Brewer Roberto Pena, who would have turned 75.