Dan Bankhead, Daniel Robert Bankhead

In 1947, Dan Bankhead (1920–1976) of the National Baseball League’s Brooklyn Dodgers, became the first African American to pitch in a major league game. Born Daniel Robert Bankhead in Empire, Alabama, he and his four brothers all played baseball in the Negro Leagues. Dan started his career with the Black Barons and played in the Puerto Rican Winter League. In 1943, during World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he played baseball for the Montford Point baseball team, touring the States as a morale raiser for the troops. Having attained the rank of sergeant, he completed his stint with the Marines in 1946 and returned to baseball, playing for the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League, before signing on with the Major League Baseball Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. He pitched his first MLB game at Ebbets Field on August 26, 1947. After his baseball career, he settled in Houston, Texas, where he is buried in that city's National Cemetery.

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