On this very special day , Martin Luther King Day, WSBGMs would like to recognize John Kennedy. No, not JFK, but John Irvin Kennedy from Jacksonville, Florida. Kennedy was the first black player in Philadelphia Phillies history, making his debut April 22, 1957, some 10 years after Jackie Robinson first broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. John was a shortstop that appeared in only 5 games and never registered a hit, but his stats aren't his legacy, his stewardship for future players of various elasticities in Philadelphia was. Before playing with the Phillies, Kennedy suited up for the Birmingham Black Barons and Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League. He was originally signed by the New York Giants in 1953, but was cut loose in 1954 without ever appearing in the Majors. Thank you John Kennedy and thank you Martin Luther King Jr.; both brave men.