Sam Jethroe: Lowndes County Native

Sam Jethroe

Lowndes County has another reason to be proud!  Recently, a group of local citizens discovered that baseball player Sam Jethroe was born in Lowndes County on January 23, 1917 and NOT in East St. Louis, Illinois as many suspected.

Jethroe, nicknamed “The Jet”  was an American center fielder in Negro League and Major League Baseball. With the Cincinnati & Cleveland Buckeyes he won a pair of batting titles, hit .340 over seven seasons from 1942 to 1948, and helped the team to two pennants and the 1945 Negro League World Series title.  He was 33 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 18, 1950 with the Boston Braves.  He was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 1950 with the Boston Braves, and led the NL in stolen bases in his first two seasons.

After his baseball career ended, Jethroe settled in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he worked in a local factory for several years, then opened a bar. He died on June 18, 2001 in Erie.

In his obituary, columnist Richard Goldstein wrote in the New York Times, “He [Sam Jethroe] was the fastest human being I’ve ever seen, said the Dodgers’ Don Newcombe, the first outstanding black pitcher in the majors and Jethroe’s one time teammate on the Dodger’s Montreal Royals farm team, for whom Jethroe stole 89 bases in 1949.”

There are still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding Jethroe’s life, family, and times in Lowndes County.  If you have any further information regarding Jethroe’s connection to Lowndes County please email archivist Mona Vance at

Published in: on August 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

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