Today's "Hall of Fame Inductee" is former Negro League and New York Giants great Monte Irvin, elected in 1973 by the Negro League Committee.
Take a look at my card design:
Although Irvin did play in the Major Leagues for eight seasons between 1949 and 1956, it was his performance in the Negro Leagues prior that led to his Hall of Fame induction.
Starring in both the Negro and Mexican Leagues, Irvin hit for power and average, which brought attention from the Majors in the form of Brooklyn Dodgers executive Branch Rickey, who broke the color-barrier a couple of years earlier with Jackie Robinson.
After Rickey was unsuccessful in reaching an agreement for compensation with the Newark Eagles owner, he abandoned trying to get Irvin into the Dodger fold, leaving an opening for the Giants to swoop in and sign him, paying $5000 for his contract.
In his eight years in the Major Leagues, all but his last with the Giants, he batted .293 with 99 home runs and 443 runs batted in, while also chipping in 28 steals and 366 runs scored.
He also helped the organization by mentoring newly promoted superstar to be Willie Mays, taking him under his wing until the "Say Hey Kid" was able to get adjusted to big league life.
The 1951 season was his finest, as he led the National League in RBI's with 121 while clubbing 24 homers and batting .312.
Those numbers got him a third place finish for Most Valuable Player, behind winner Roy Campanella and Stan Musial.
After playing the 1956 season with the Chicago Cubs, Irvin retired because of a bad back.
I didn't know this until I began writing this post that Irvin is the oldest living Negro Leagues player at the moment. He is also the oldest living African-American to have played in the Majors as well.
God-speed Mr. Irvin!