Card of the Moment #81
December 2nd, 2011 by slangon

Today’s Card of the Moment is brought to you by the color blue. And gradients. And water stains.

I picked this sucker up off of eBay a while back in exchange for a Washington.

1955 Topps #100 Monte Irvin

That’s why today’s Card of the Moment is brought to us by water stains. I very much doubt I would’ve snared this beauty for a buck with them. Although I can’t say that Montford Merrill Irvin is my favorite player ever, there are several reasons why he is definitely in my top 5. First and foremost, he was a pretty damn good ball player. Although he had a pretty short Major League career (only 8 seasons), he put up some impressive numbers at that level. He ended with a .293 average, 99 home runs (I always wonder if that drives guys nuts to retire only 1 or 2 hits or homers or RBI or runs away from a milestone number), and 443 RBI.

Another reason I like him is because I’m pretty interested in the history of the Negro Leagues, which is where Monte did much of his best playing and is why he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Although playing stats for the Negro Leagues are sketchy at best, we do know he did some amazing things. He hit .422 in 1940 while playing for the Newark Eagles. He followed that up with a league leading .382 the next year. The next year, he jumped ship to the Mexican League where he won the Triple Crown and the MVP. After a stint in the Army, he returned to the Eagles in 1946 where he won another batting title thanks to his .401 average. He also helped Newark beat the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro League World Series during which he hit .462 with 3 dingers. He was a 5 time Negro League All-Star. Incidentally, after the color line was finally broken, he was part of the first all-black outfield in Major League history along with Willie Mays and Hank Thompson.

Another reason I’m a fan of his is because of all his New Jersey ties. For those of you that don’t know, I’ve lived in Jersey my whole life and am very interesting in it’s history. Although Monte was born in Alabama, he moved to Orange, NJ when he was a little kid and grew up there. In fact, he’s one of only 5 members of the Hall of Fame to have grown up in the Garden State, the other 4 being Goose Goslin, Billy Hamilton, Joe “Ducky” Medwick and Larry Doby. As I mentioned earlier, he also spent time playing for the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League. Also, after he was signed by the New York Giants, he spent time in their Minor League system playing for the Jersey City Giants. ALthough he had a cup of coffee with the big club in 1949, he was called up for good after hitting .510 with 10 homers and 33 RBI in just 18 games with the Jersey City team in 1950.

A couple of other minor things just add to my appreciation for him. Although I don’t have much love for the left coast version of the Giants, my dad grew up a Giants fan when they were still in New York, which probably had a lot to do with the fact that he grew up in Jersey City. So the fact that he was a Gint for most of his Major League career is a plus in my book. He also has ties to the Mets. After he retired, he worked as a scout for the Metropolitans from 1967-68.

Finally, and I just became aware of this while researching this post, he has one of the best nicknames I’ve never heard. You ready for this one? Mr. Murder. How awesome is that one? I mentioned earlier the crazy tear he went on with the Jersey City Giants in 1950 that earned him a place at the Polo Grounds. Well, after he did that people began calling him “Mr. Murder, Inc” which was shortened to just plain old Mr. Murder.

One Response to “Card of the Moment #81”

  1. Great pick up for a buck. Love any card that has a Hero Number too.

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