Lester: Monte Irvin put the ‘I’ in icon

From SABR member Larry Lester at The National Pastime Museum on January 29, 2016:

The iconic Monte Irvin died at the age of 96 this January in Houston. He was a high-energy player with vitality, vigor, and vim that anchored the Newark Eagles and the New York Giants championship teams. Giants Manager Leo Durocher once said, “Nice guys finish last.” Well, Irvin was a nice guy, a respected teammate, a wonderful husband and father, along with being the voice for equality on the playing field. He was my friend, a confidante, and my sounding board for private reflections.

In 1937, at the age of 18, Irvin joined the Newark Eagles under the fictitious name of Jimmy Nelson, to protect his amateur collegiate status. After two years under the management of future Hall of Famer Willie Wells, Irvin matured into a fine shortstop, earning his first berth to the 1941 East All-Star team before being drafted into the army. Irvin claimed, “Wells showed me everything he knew. We talked about hitting—he was a really good curveball hitter—about moving around on different pitchers, especially left-handers, moving up in the box, moving back, trying to take a peek back to see how the catcher is holding his target in a close game.”

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/monte-irvin-he-put-%E2%80%9Ci%E2%80%9D-icon

Originally published: January 29, 2016. Last Updated: January 29, 2016.