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 color barrier. Irvin spent seven of his eight big league seasons with the Giants and one year with the Chicago Cubs in 1956. A native of Haleburg, Alabama, 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.
RIP. Thank heavens he’ll be remembered for the home run in the Championship Series and not the one he hit in the World Series.
Henderson spent 14 seasons split between five organizations (Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics, Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants). He slugged 197 home runs in 1,538 career regular-season games and earned an All-Star selection with the A’s in 1991.
The man known as “Hendu” will be remembered as much for his infectious personality as his on-field accomplishments. Red Sox fans certainly won’t forget Henderson’s two-out, two-strike, two-run homer in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS. It kept Boston’s season alive and opened the door for the Red Sox to defeat the California Angels in seven games to advance to the World Series.
Toni King said her father passed away peacefully at 87 in his Land Park area home. He was visited regularly by friends and former players whose careers he touched during a 41-year career as a regional scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.
“He was like a second father to me,” said Sax, a former Dodgers second baseman. “He was a tutor to a lot of players, an unbelieveable man. He would work all of us out tirelessly to make sure we did things right. He knew just about everything in baseball. He wasn’t boastful but could always give you that special input. Between seasons, I’d come back home to meet with him. If it wasn’t for Ronnie, I probably would have never made it to the major leagues.”
King, a baseball and football standout at Christian Brothers High School, had an eight-year minor-league career as a catcher and occasional relief pitcher that included a brief stop with the Sacramento Solons in 1954. He never reached the big leagues. As a Solons batboy in his youth – “a dream job for any kid,” King once recalled – he began to learn the intricacies of the game.
In addition to Sax, King signed or helped develop future major leaguers Dave Sax (Steve’s brother), Jim Nelson, Bob Oliver, Greg Sims, Bill McNulty, Leon Lee, Max Venable and Greg Vaughn.
“Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours”
Yogi Berra’s baseball exploits as a New York Yankees catching great spoke for themselves. He spoke for himself in a charmingly fractured way that introduced “Yogi-isms” such as “It’s déjà vu all over again” into the American lexicon.
The Hall of Famer died at the of 90 on Tuesday evening, the Yogi Berra Museum announced. He undoubtedly would be reminding people of what he once said: “You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise, they won’t come to yours.”
Although listed at 5-7, 185 in his playing days, Berra stood tall among the game’s elite. In 1999 he was one of 100 players selected to Major League Baseball’s All-Century team.
Berra was a free swinger who loved to chase pitches way out of the strike zone. “If I can hit it, it’s a good pitch,” he said of a career that spanned 18 seasons with the Yankees. Thirteen of those seasons ended in the World Series, and Berra was a part of 10 Yankees championship teams.
He batted .285 with 358 home runs and 1,430 runs batted in a career that finished with a short stint with the New York Mets in 1965.