In Memoriam: Monte Irvin
The Jackie Robinson Foundation mourns the loss of Monte Irvin, the former Negro Leaguer and then power hitting Giant’s outfielder who joined the Major Leagues in 1949, only two years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Although entering a league that had become slightly more diverse in the ensuing seasons, Mr. Irvin still endured similar racist sentiments and bigoted actions as Mr. Robinson. Mr. Irvin, who teamed with Willie Mays and Hank Thompson as the first all-black outfield in the Major Leagues, helped spark the Giant’s to a World Series win in 1951, the year of the “shot heard ‘round the world.”
“My family and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Monte Irvin,” said Rachel Robinson. “Monte was not only an outstanding star in baseball. For me, he was a precious friend. I feel very sad, and yet consoled by my everlasting memories of him.”
Mr. Irvin was himself a barrier breaker in Major League Baseball, becoming, in 1968, the first African American executive in professional baseball. In 1973, he became the fourth Negro League player inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“Mr. Irvin’s courage, natural athletic abilities and perseverance helped pave the way for more opportunities in baseball and throughout society,” said Della Britton Baeza, JRF’s president and CEO.
The Foundation expresses our sincerest condolences to Mr. Irvin’s family.