Touring the bases with Monte Irvin

From SABR member Ted Leavengood at on January 31, 2012, about fellow SABR member Monte Irvin:

Monte Irvin has had an extraordinary life and I had the privilege to talk to him about his long career in the game recently. He is 92—he will turn 93 on February 25th—and can look back over a remarkable period in our history, as he recalled,  ”It was a time when baseball was really king.” (Monte is our guest on “Outta the Parkway, February 3)

Monte started as an 18-year-old kid, signing with Abe Manley to play with the Newark Eagles. By the time he was 22, he was one of the best players in the Negro Leagues, leading the Negro National League in batting in 1941. He was one of the pioneers in breaking the color barrier of Major League Baseball with the New York Giants.  So much history for one man to see.

Q. You mentioned to me that Washington, DC was one of your favorite places to play when you were with the Newark Eagles, could you share some of your memories from those years.

Monte Irvin. Yes, Washington was one of my favorite places to play. Number one you had great fans in Washington. We had some great games against the Homestead Grays. The team had moved there from Pennsylvania because they could draw better there. The Grays had a great team, some of the finest like Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, Roy Partlo and their pitching star, Ray Brown. He was a great right-handed pitcher and a star of the Homestead Grays.

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Originally published: January 31, 2012. Last Updated: January 31, 2012.