Baseball Hall of Famer Monte Irvin dies at 96
Hall of Famer Monte Irvin, a power-hitting outfielder who starred for the New York Giants in the 1950s in a career abbreviated by major league baseball’s exclusion of black players, has died. He was 96.
The Hall of Fame said Irvin died Monday night of natural causes at his Houston home.
Irvin was 30 when he joined the Giants in 1949, two years after Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier. Irvin spent seven of his eight big league seasons with the Giants and one year with the Chicago Cubs in 1956. Irvin played in the Negro, Mexican and Puerto Rican leagues during his 20s.
Irvin batted .300 or more three times with a high of .329 in 1953. He finished with a career average of .293 with 99 homers and 443 RBIs, numbers that would have surely been far higher if not for the game’s racial segregation.
Irvin was one of the most important contributors during the Giants’ amazing pennant drive in 1951 when they overtook the Brooklyn Dodgers after trailing by 13 1-2 games in mid-August.
That year Irvin teamed with Hank Thompson and Mays to form the first all-black outfield in the majors. He finished third in the NL’s MVP voting.