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Jersey Proud: Newark Negro League baseball player unravels hot streak, despite not breaking color barrier

It's a great "what if" in New Jersey sports history: What if the owner of the Newark Eagles Negro League team had let Monte Irvin out of his contract.

News 12 Staff

Feb 26, 2022, 3:57 AM

Updated 842 days ago

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Jackie Robinson was the person who broke the baseball color barrier, but it so easily could have been a Black New Jersey player.
It's a great "what if" in New Jersey sports history: What if the owner of the Newark Eagles Negro League team had let Monte Irvin out of his contract.
Irvin, one of the great athletes in state history, was born on Feb. 25, 1919.
Out of Orange High School, he was starring in Newark when Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey talked to him about breaking baseball's color barrier.
Newark owned his rights and owner Effa Manley expected compensation.
Rickey said "no" and went after Robinson instead.
Nevertheless, Irvin's career took off.
He made it to the majors with the New York Giants in 1949, he was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in the 1970s and the San Francisco Giants retired his number in 2010.
Back in New Jersey, his statue is at the entrance of Monte Irvin Park in Orange.
Irvin died in 2016 and will be forever remembered as New Jersey baseball royalty.
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