It happened over 50 years ago. Not one historic barrier broken–but two. The color barrier in the Georgia State League and quite likely the bar that said you had to be at least a teenager to play pro ball.
Joe Louis Reliford carries the distinction with pride. Just a kid when he served as batboy for the Fitzgerald Pioneers of the Class D Georgia State League, his age didn’t stop the team’s manager from putting him into the lineup one memorable day in 1952.
It may have been just a joke, but that one inning may have played a small role in the integration of baseball–and given Reliford the title of youngest pro ballplayer in history.