He had once given up his baseball glove, but was inspired to pick it back up when he heard Jackie Robinson broke color barriers in Major League Baseball when he signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945.
Ashford immediately quit his job at the post office and joined the minor leagues where he played for 15 years before finally accomplishing his goal of meeting Robinson at the majors. He made his debut at D.C. Stadium where he brought his personality and charm as an American League umpire.
He died on March 1, 1980, at the age of 65.
BET Sports News - Get the latest news and information about African-Americans in sports including weekly recaps, celebrity news and photos of your favorite Black athletes. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
(Photo: John Vawter Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)