On this date in 1919 the first African-American to play baseball in the modern era, Jack Roosevelt Robinson, was born in Cairo, Ga.
A tip of the Cheap Seats cap to a great ballplayer and a tremendous human being capable of more patience and fortitude than I can imagine.
Did you know that the first African-American to wear the Cardinals uniform shares Robinson's birthday?
On this date 87 years ago Thomas Edison Alston, who would grow up to be a 6-foot-5 first baseman for St. Louis, was born in Greensboro, N.C.
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A Navy veteran who served during World War Two as a landing boat operator on a cargo ship, Alston graduated from North Carolina A&T in 1951 and began to work his way up though the minor leagues. He was a member of San Diego's club in the Pacific Coast League in 1953 when his contract was sold to the Cardinals. He made his debut in the major leagues on April 13, 1954.
Alston went 0-for-4 in his debut, a 13-4 loss to the Cubs. He would go on to bat .246 with four home runs in 244 at bats.
Unfortunately, Alston would never enjoy the success Robinson had with the Dodgers. In the minor leagues he was a .294 career hitter who twice hit more than 20 homers in a season. But from 1955-57 Alston would only collect a total of 27 at bats with the Cardinals. He retired after the 1957 season.
Alson died on Dec. 30, 1993.