Héctor López, two-time World Series champ with Yankees and first Black Triple-A manager, dies at 93

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Héctor López, a two-time World Series champion and the first Black manager in Triple-A history, has died at the age of 93, according to Julia Kreuz of MLB.com. The New York Yankees, the team that López spent most of his career with, held a moment of silence to honor him before their game Friday against the Baltimore Orioles.

López appeared in parts of 12 big-league seasons, amassing a career .269/.330/.415 slash line that was good for a 103 OPS+. He homered 136 times and stole 16 bases, albeit at an inefficient clip. According to Baseball Reference’s calculations, his contributions were worth an estimated 12.9 Wins Above Replacement.

López was regarded as a better hitter than fielder throughout his career, and teams moved him around the diamond trying to find his optimal position. Indeed, he finished his career with more than 150 appearances at four different spots: both outfield corners, second base and third base. “Most of the managers I ever had kept shifting me around from one position to another,” he told a reporter in 1963. “I was young then and I think it affected me.”

López began his career as a member of the Kansas City Athletics. He spent four-plus seasons with that organization before being traded to the Yankees in May 1959. That deal also netted the Yankees Ralph Terry, and it cost them Johnny Kucks, Jerry Lumpe and Tom Sturdivant. López, the second Panamanian-born player to reach the major leagues, would subsequently spend the rest of his career with the Yankees, winning the World Series in both 1961 and 1962. (The Yankees would lose the 1960, 1963 and 1964 editions of the Fall Classic with him in tow.)

After López retired from playing, he became the first Black manager in Triple-A history. He would later coach and scout for various organizations, including the Yankees. 

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