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Bob Boyd

Topps baseball card - 1954 Series, #113
First baseman
Born: October 1, 1919(1919-10-01)
Potts Camp, Mississippi
Died: September 7, 2004 (aged 84)
Wichita, Kansas
Batted: Left Threw: Left 
MLB debut
September 8, 1951 for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 24, 1961 for the Milwaukee Braves
Career statistics
Batting average     .293
Home runs     19
Runs batted in     175
Career highlights and awards
  • First black player to sign with the White Sox
  • First Oriole to reach the .300 mark in the 20th century
  • Turned the first opening day triple play in major league history (against Washington, April 9, 1959)
  • Inducted to the National Baseball Congress Hall of Fame
  • Inducted to the Negro League Hall of Fame

Robert Richard Boyd (October 1, 1919, Potts Camp, Mississippi – September 7, 2004, Wichita, Kansas) was an American first baseman in the Negro Leagues and Major League Baseball.



Nicknamed "Rope" for his line-drive hitting, Boyd played in the Negro Leagues with the Memphis Red Sox (1947-49), and in the major leagues for the Chicago White Sox (1951, 1953-54), Baltimore Orioles (1956-60), Kansas City Athletics (1961) and Milwaukee Braves (1961).

Boyd threw and batted left-handed, and he could shine with his glove. He was a contact hitter, slight of frame, and didn't produce the kind of home run power expected from a major league first baseman. He started his professional career in the Negro Leagues with the Memphis Red Sox, and played three seasons for them between 1947 and 1949, batting .352, .369 and .371, respectively.

In 1950, Boyd became the first black player to sign with the Chicago White Sox. He made his debut on September 8, 1951. Basically a backup player and pinch-hitter with the Sox, in 1954 he was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals, but didn't play for them. Boyd was out in 1955, and at the end of the season, he was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles from St. Louis in the 1955 rule 5 draft. In 1956 with the Orioles, he hit .311 with two homers and 11 RBI in 70 games.

Boyd enjoyed a career season in 1957. Only eight batters reached the .300 mark in the American League, and he finished fourth in the batting race with a .318 average behind Ted Williams (.388), Mickey Mantle (.365) and Gene Woodling (.321), and over Nellie Fox, Minnie Miñoso, Bill Skowron and Roy Sievers. Beside this, Boyd became the first Oriole regular in the twentieth century to hit over .300 in batting average. The following year, he batted .309 with a career-high seven home runs.

Boyd ended his majors career in 1961. He compiled a .293 batting average with 19 home runs and 175 RBI in 693 games. Thanks to his discipline at the plate and knowledge of the strike zone, he registered an outstanding 1.465 walk-to-strikeout ratio (167-to-114). At first base, he committed only 36 errors in 4159 chances for a .991 fielding average.

Bob Boyd died at age 84 in Wichita, Kansas. He is a member both of the Negro League Hall of Fame and of the National Baseball Congress Hall of Fame.

In Memoriam

"'The Rope' delighted in fooling pitchers. Bobby Boyd might have been past 40, but he could still hit. He just didn't want the young pitchers he was facing in the National Baseball Congress World Series during the mid-1960s to know. So when one of them would buzz a fastball in at his letters, Boyd would jerk away from the plate as if frightened for his safety. The pitcher would puff his chest, believing he had the old man right where he wanted him. But it was all a ploy. Boyd would usually hit the next fastball he saw like a rope. He would get a special thrill when that rope went back through the middle, forcing the pitcher to duck for his life. Fittingly, Boyd was nicknamed "The Rope" for his constant line drivers." - Bob Lutz, at The Wichita Eagle.

See also




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