Elston Howard (1929-1980)
Commemorative stone on the path to Yankee Stadium
Elston Howard became the first African-American to play for the NY Yankees, when he took his position as catcher against the Baltimore Orioles on April 20, 1955. Prior to being signed by the Yankees, Howard signed with the KC Monarchs out of high school. Howard had turned down several scholarships to play football to sign with the Monarchs in 1948.
In 1950 the Monarchs would sell his contract to the New York Yankees. Howard would start his Yankee career with the Class A Muskegon Clippers, by 1954 the Yankees brought Howard to their "Yankee Prospects School" during spring training. April 14, 1950 Howard would make his Yankee debut at Fenway Park, getting a base hit and an RBI in his first at-bat. On April 20, Howard would make his debut at Yankee Stadium. Howard would stay with the Yankees until 1967, when he was traded to the Boston Red Sox. In 1969 Howard would return to the Yankees as the first black coach in the American League.
July 21, 1984 the New York Yankees would honor Howard by retiring his number 32 and placing a plaque in Monument Park. Roger Maris was honored on the same day as Howard...
Elston Howard Jersey Retirement Commemorative Cover