April 30, 2011

THE PUERTO RICAN JACKIE ROBINSON OF THE NEGRO LEAGUES?:

Navarro, Puerto Rico baseball great, dies at 105 (DANICA COTO, 4/30/11, Associated Press

The cheerful 5-foot-5 infielder was known for his baserunning skills and became the first Puerto Rican to play in the Negro Leagues.

[Emilio “Millito” Navarro] played in the Dominican Republic with the Escogido Lions in the late 1920s and in Venezuela with Magallanes and other teams in the 1930s. In Puerto Rico, he was the second baseman for the Ponce Lions for nearly 20 years.

He was a shortstop and leadoff hitter for the New York-based Cuban Stars of the Eastern Colored League in 1928, hitting .337 the following year.

In 2008, Navarro threw out a first pitch before a game at Yankee Stadium. He warmed up his arm, waved his hat and made a 30-foot toss on the fly to catcher Jorge Posada(notes). Asked how the sport had changed, Navarro’s eyes widened and he mentioned high salaries.

“I made $25 a week,” he said through a translator.

In an interview last August with The Associated Press, he said he did not have any secrets to a long life but that he enjoyed dancing and the occasional glass of whiskey.


Posted by at April 30, 2011 8:13 PM
  

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