Puerto Rico Baseball pays tribute to Monte Irvin

On December 16, Monte Irvin, a highly esteemed former baseball star, will be inducted into the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame. The event will take place in the city of Ponce, with the opening ceremony taking place at 3:00 PM at the «Sor Isolina Ferré Center.»

Irvin was born on Friday, April 25, 1919, in Haleburg, Alabama. He demonstrated his proficiency as a left field, first base, and shortstop defender throughout his career. Between 1949 and 1956, he made his mark on Major League Baseball with the New York Giants, earning honors such as his selection to the «1952 All-Star Game» by the National League and contributing to the Giants’ triumph in the «1954 World Series.» Irvin was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, on August 6, 1973.

Irvin’s baseball journey began in 1938 in the «Negro National League» with the Newark team in New Jersey. Notably, he played a crucial role before Jackie Robinson’s breakthrough with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, which made him a leading candidate to break the racial barrier in the Major Leagues.

Irvin left a lasting impression in Puerto Rico, playing with the San Juan Senators for four seasons (1940–41, 1941–42) and returning after World War II for 1945–1946 and 1946–1947. Colon Delgados beisbol101.com reveals his impressive numbers, which include a.322 batting average, 198 hits in 614 at-bats, 43 doubles, 14 triples, and 20 home runs, accounting for 38% of his total extra-base hits.

A genuine friendship blossomed after I met Irvin at Yankee Stadium in the mid-1970s. He played a significant role as Commissioner Bowie K. Kuhn’s first «Negro» executive at a high level in the Major League’s history, demonstrating his influence off the field. Irvin consistently supported Latin American baseball players, marking notable moments such as accompanying the retirement of Orestes «Minnie» Miñoso’s number 9 in 1983.

Irvin received numerous accolades after retiring, including induction into the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 and the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973. His number 20 was retired by the San Francisco Giants on June 26, 2020, and a statue in his honor was unveiled on October 19, 2020, at ‘Monte Irvin Park’ in Orange, New Jersey.

The story ends with Irvin talking about the last time I saw him in 2011 and how grateful he was for being treated with kindness and respect in Puerto Rico. Monte passed away on January 11, 2016, in a nursing home in Houston, Texas. He left a lasting legacy.

The enthusiasm for the posthumous honor in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on Saturday is palpable, as Monte Irvin will be inducted into the distinguished «Class of 2023» in the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame alongside fourteen other notable persons.

Photo colorization by Joe Torres

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