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Hector Lopez, MLB’s trailblazer as the first Black manager of a triple-A team has passed away at 93 years old.
One of the last living members of the early 1960’s Yankees dynasty, Hector Lopez, has passed away at the age of 93 from complications with lung cancer.
Lopez’s son, Darrol Lopez, told the New York Times that his father passed away in a Hudson, Florida hospital last week after suffering complications related to lung cancer.
Tonight, we held a moment of silence in remembrance of former Yankee Hector Lopez. Just the second Panamanian-born player to reach the Major Leagues, Hector spent 8 seasons in pinstripes, winning 2 Championships. After retiring, he became the first black manager in AAA history. pic.twitter.com/dQZk6kSxAT
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 30, 2022
On Saturday, the New York Yankees held a moment of silence to honor the trailblazer for his contributions to baseball as both a player and a manager. Lopez was the second Panamanian-born player to play in the MLB, following Humberto Robinson, and the first Black manager in the MLB’s highest minor league level, AAA.
Remembering Hector Lopez
From 1959 to 1966, Lopez was part of the Yankees dynasty that went to five consecutive World Series, winning in 1961 and 1962. Lopez was a good hitter, boasting a career batting average of .269 and 136 home runs. As a defensive player, Lopez played both infield and outfield and appeared next to MLB Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in the outfield.
After his career as a player Hector Lopez was named as the manager of the Buffalo Bisons in 1969, the then AAA affiliate of the Washington Senators (now Texas Rangers).
Saddened to learn of the passing of former #Bisons player and manager, Hector Lopez, at the age of 93. In 1969, Lopez became the first Black manager in baseball history above Single-A when he managed the Herd! pic.twitter.com/a9VDrIg6Az
— Buffalo Bisons🦬 (@BuffaloBisons) October 1, 2022
Lopez paved the way for Frank Robinson to become the first Black manager in MLB history with the Cleveland Indians.
“There was a lot of competition, a lot of great players during the ’50s and ’60s. Plus the fact that there weren’t that many Black ballplayers at that time. Especially in the American League. So I guess you can say I made the most out of my opportunities,” Lopez said in an interview for the book “That Was Part of Baseball Then.”