Appel: Monte Irvin, and why he’ll be missed

From SABR member Marty Appel at The National Pastime Museum on February 25, 2016:

The death of Monte Irvin in January, a month shy of his 97th birthday, robbed baseball of one of the finest gentlemen to ever play the game, and robbed historians of the go-to source for anything about the Negro Leagues.

He was the last significant player from the Negro Leagues, and to the delight of countless writers and broadcasters he remained alert and vital until the end, always ready to help researchers out. (When Hank Aaron played for the Indianapolis Clowns, the Negro Leagues were already in free fall, and Aaron never really experienced the league when it was vital.)

When I wrote a magazine piece last year on Martin Dihigo, the Hall of Famer from Cuba, there was the obligatory call to Monte, and from it came the sentence, “He always walked tall and proud, and when he came into a room, all eyes turned towards him.”

That’s what Monte could provide that statistics couldn’t, and that’s why he’ll be missed. That, and his decency, humanity, and basic goodness.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: February 26, 2016. Last Updated: February 26, 2016.