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Giants to retire uniform #20 worn by Monte Irvin05/26/2010 4:59 PM ET
By sf - irvin / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - The San Francisco Giants announced that the team will retire uniform #20 and celebrate the career of Giants Hall of Famer Monte Irvin on Saturday, June 26 when the club hosts the Boston Red Sox at 4:10 p.m. at AT&T Park. Irvin will be joined by Giants Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry and Orlando Cepeda in a special pre-game ceremony that will begin at 3:30 p.m.
Irvin will join an elite group of New York and San Francisco Giants players as the 11th player to have his uniform number retired by the organization. Irvin wore number 20 in his seven seasons with the Giants from 1949-1955. Irvin will join Carl Hubbell, Mel Ott, Bill Terry, John McGraw and Christy Mathewson as the sixth member of the New York Giants to have his uniform number retired.
The Haleburg, Alabama native became the first African American player to play for the Giants when he signed with the team on July 8, 1949 after a storied career in the Negro Leagues. In 1951, Irvin joined Hank Thompson and Willie Mays to form the first all-African American outfield in Major League Baseball history.
Irvin compiled a .293 batting average with 97 doubles, 31 triples, 99 home runs and 443 RBI during his eight seasons in the Majors. He had arguably his best season in 1951, when he sparked the Giants' miraculous comeback to overtake the Dodgers in the pennant race, batting .312 with 24 home runs and a league-best 121 RBI, en route to the World Series, where he batted .458 (11-for-24).
Prior to joining the Giants, Irvin excelled in the Negro Leagues with the Newark Eagles from 1937-48, earning five All-Star appearances (1941, 1946-48, including two games in 1946). He was also the Most Valuable Player in the Mexican League in 1942, leading the league with a .397 batting average and hitting a league-high 20 home runs.
In addition to his baseball achievements, Irvin served his country in World War II from 1943-45. When he came back from the war, he led his Newark Eagles over the Kansas City Monarchs in the 1946 Negro League World Series.
Irvin retired after the 1956 season, but continued his baseball career as a scout for the New York Mets (1967-68) and as a public relations specialist for the Commissioner's Office under Bowie Kuhn. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973. Irvin, 91, currently serves on the Veteran's committee of the Hall of Fame.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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