March 5, 2010

James Edward "Jim" Pendleton

Jim Pendleton was born in 1924 in St. Charles, Missouri. He joined a Negro minor league team in Asheville before he was promoted to the Negro American League in 1948. Playing shortstop for the Chicago American Giants, he hit .301. The following year, he was in the American Association as an outfielder with the St. Paul Saints, an affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Upon signing with the Dodgers organization, he took two years off his age. He was the only black player in the American Association at the time of his signing. In 1951, St. Paul moved him back to shortstop. The next year, he played for the Dodgers' minor league team in Montreal.

Between 1950 and 1952, Pendleton hit between .291 and .301 each season, averaging 14 home runs and more than 15 triples per year during that period. Despite his minor league success, two factors worked against the possibility of a promotion to the Dodgers. Brooklyn already had a star major league shortstop, Pee Wee Reese, and the franchise was worried about backlash from the rest of baseball if it promoted more than one black player to the major leagues each year. The Dodgers also rejected trade offers from other teams during that time. With Reese holding strong as the Dodgers shortstop, Brooklyn agreed to a trade that sent Pendleton to the Milwaukee Braves in early 1953. At the age of 29, on April 17, 1953, Pendleton made his MLB debut with the Braves.

In 1953, he was traded to the Braves as part of a four-team transaction (involving the Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies, as well as the Braves and Dodgers). He played more than 100 games in the outfield for Milwaukee, and batted .299 in a part-time role, which increased his popularity. In 1957, he hit .305 in 46 games for the Pirates, but after three at bats in 1958, he was sent back to the minors for the rest of 1958 campaign. He was a member of the first Houston Colt .45s team in 1962 and played in 117 games at the age of 38. In his MLB career, Pendleton appeared in 444 games over eight seasons, hitting 19 home runs. He died in Houston, Texas, at age 72.

GPS Coordinates
29° 55.786, -095° 26.957

Section K
Houston National Cemetery
Houston

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