Emmett Littleton Ashford
Height 5' 8", Weight 175 lb.
School Chapman University
Born November 23, 1914 in Los Angeles, CA USA
Died March 1, 1980 in Marina Del Ray, CA USA
The first black umpire in the history of both professional baseball and Major League Baseball, Emmett Ashford began his umpiring career in the class C 1951 Southwest International League.
He umpired his first game July 7, 1951 behind the plate for a game between the Yuma Panthers and the Mexicali Eagles. He stayed in the SIL through July 22, 1952, then umped in the Arizona-Texas League from August 11 through the end of 1952.
He moved to the Western International League in 1953 and worked the Pacific Coast League from 1954 to 1965.
On April 11, 1966, Ashford became the first black Major League umpire and remained an umpire until his retirement in 1970. Ashford was a showy umpire, though he mellowed with age. He didn't become an umpire until he was 36 years old; previously he had worked for the postal service.
Click here to view video of Emmett Ashford in action