Hector Lopez, Who Broke a Baseball Color Barrier, Dies at 93

Hector Lopez, the first Black manager at the highest level of minor league baseball, died on Thursday.

Hector Lopez was one of the last living members of the early 1960s Yankees dynasty, playing outfield alongside Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. He was 93.

Hector Lopez

Darrol Lopez, his son, confirmed his death, saying he died of complications from lung cancer at a hospital in Hudson, Fla.

Lopez, a native of Panama, was one of the Yankees’ first Black players, appearing in five consecutive World Series.

He was the epitome of a utility player, a capable nonstar who filled in as an infielder and outfielder as needed.

In the fifth and final game of the 1961 World Series, he hit a home run, tripled, and drove in five runs in a 13-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Lopez was released by the Yankees following the 1966 season, in which the team finished 10th and last, with a.269 average and 136 home runs.

He spent a couple of seasons in the minor leagues, hoping to return to the majors, but instead was named manager of the Buffalo Bisons, the Washington Senators’ Triple-A affiliate at the time (now the Texas Rangers).

According to New York Times headline, “Hector Lopez Slides Safely Into Buffalo as First Negro Pro Baseball Pilot.”