Hall 0f Famer Monte Irvin passed away at the age of 96. Irvin couldn’t break into the majors until the age of 30 in 1949 but was, for a while, considered to maybe be what Jackie Robinson was—the man to break the color barrier.
Because of his late start, most of Irvin’s accomplishments came in the Negro Leagues, but in 1951, Irvin finished 3rd in the MVP balloting after a season where he hit .312-24-121 (leading the NL in RBI) and helped to lead the NY Giants to their improbable come from behind pennant.
Irvin had an excellent WS against the Yanks in the Giants’ loss to the Bronx Bombers. He went 11 for 24 (.458) with two RBI and even stole home in Game 1.
He was an All-Star for the only time in 1952 and finished 31st in MVP voting despite playing just 46 games because of a broken ankle.
He hit .329-21-97 in 1953, finishing 15th in the MVP voting and was a member of the 1954 WS Champion NY Giants, going 2 for 9 in that WS—the last WS Champion NY Giant team.
He played for the Giants from 1949-1955 and finished his career with the Cubs in 1956. He hit .293 with an OPS+ of 125 in his shortened career.
After his career ended, Irvin worked in baseball for many years in the commissioners’ office.
Big news in the NFL. The St. Louis Rams are headed backed to LA, where they played from 1946-1994 (winning the NFL title in 1951 and losing Super Bowl XIV), and the San Diego Chargers may follow. The Chargers started out in the AFL in Los Angeles, playing there in 1960 before moving to San Diego. The 1960 Los Angeles Chargers lost the AFL title game to the Houston Oilers, 24-16.
The Rams are moving to LA next year, to play in the LA Coliseum. A new stadium is expected to be ready for 2019. I don’t know where they would play in 2017 and 2018, I’ll have to check. The Chargers may move in 2017, if a lease agreement can be worked out with the Rams. If one can’t be worked out, then the Raiders may move from Oakland to LA, where they played from 1982-1994, winning Super Bowl XVIII.
Meanwhile, the playoffs are going on, and last week saw a couple of doozies. KC beat Houston 30-0 and Green Bay knocked out Washington 35-18 but it was the other two, the way they finished, that was shocking.
Minnesota missed a chippy 27 yd. FG at the end of the game to lose 10-9 to Seattle. The game was played in sub-zero degree weather.
Pittsburgh blew a 15-0 lead they had entering the fourth quarter, and had their QB hurt. They had to go with their 3rd and 4th string RBs in the game. With 1:50 left, Cincinnati, who had not won a playoff game since 1990, took a 16-15 lead. Pittsburgh’s backup QB threw a pick, and Cincy had the ball in Steelers’ territory, only to fumble the ball back with 1:23 left. Back onto the field came Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger, who was injured. We now know he suffered a sprained AC and torn ligaments in his throwing shoulder due to a sack and dirty play (knee to the shoulder after the sack) by a Cincy LB. He couldn’t throw long but got the ball to midfield with 22 seconds left. Then Cincy got called for back to back 15 yd. personal foul penalties, one on a dirty hit by the same LB, to move the ball forward 30 yards and Pittsburgh hit the 35 yd. FG to win the game 18-16.
The behavior of both teams in the game as well as fans was disgraceful (and I am saying that as a Steelers fan who is happy Pittsburgh won, but who is not happy with the actions of coaches Munchak and Porter, even though what Porter did may have affected the outcome of the game).
So Pittsburgh at Denver in the next round, but with a RB (Williams), QB (Big Ben) and WR (Brown) all questionable.
KC at New England. Seattle at 15-1 Carolina. Green Bay at Arizona.
Lastly a minor Yankees trade regarding minor leaguers. You can check it out here on Lohud’s link.