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January 2008

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Introduction: In 1950, at the end of a triumphant season with the Boston Braves, outfielder Sam Jethroe earned Major League Baseball's National League Rookie of the Year award.' Forty years later, Jethroe found himself destitute with no home and without his Rookie of the Year trophy, which he sold in desperation for money. A variety of factors conspired to pull Jethroe into poverty, and one such factor was racially motivated employment discrimination. As an African-American, Jethroe was barred from playing Major League Baseball (MLB) for the majority of what would otherwise have been his most productive playing years. Limited, as a consequence of his race, to three full seasons and one partial season in the big leagues, Jethroe fell narrowly shy of the four- year eligibility requirement for a Major League Baseball pension. With no money and no other recourse, Jethroe sued Major League Baseball and related entities in March of 1995 for the pension he felt he was wrongly denied, but he gained no redress, as the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed the suit as untimely. With the dismissal, the case lost the little media attention it initially attracted, and Jethroe receded into the obscurity in which he had lived for years. He died several years later, and his suit has received scarce attention since.

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