Obituaries

Manuel ‘Jungle Jim’ Rivera, 96, speedy White Sox hitter

Manuel "Jungle Jim" Rivera, of the Chicago White Sox 1953, poses in a batting stance on May 6, 1953.
Associated Press/File
Manuel "Jungle Jim" Rivera, of the Chicago White Sox 1953, poses in a batting stance on May 6, 1953.

CHICAGO — Manuel ‘‘Jungle Jim’’ Rivera, an outfielder on the 1959 ‘‘Go-Go’’ White Sox pennant-winning team, died Monday night in Fort Wayne, Ind. He was 96.

The AL leader in triples in 1953 with 16 and steals two years later with 25, ‘‘Jungle Jim’’ played for the White Sox from 1952 to 1961. He was part of the 1959 team that — led by Nellie Fox, Minnie Minoso, Luis Aparicio, and Early Wynn — captured the franchise’s first pennant since 1919.

The White Sox lost the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games. Mr. Rivera went 0 for 11, and Chicago did not win another pennant until 2005.

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He earned his nickname from a Chicago sportswriter, in a nod to how he played the game with abandon.

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Mr. Rivera, who was Puerto Rican and grew up in New York City, batted .256 in a career that included short stints with the St. Louis Browns and Kansas City Athletics.

He is the second member of the ’59 Sox team to die in the last five weeks as Jim Landis passed away Oct. 7 at 83.

“Sadly, yet another former White Sox star from our 1959 American League pennant-winning team has passed away as Jim Rivera joined many of his teammates (Monday) night,” the Sox said in a statement. “It was amazing to see the friendship and camaraderie among those men whenever they gathered together at a Sox game, even if it was decades after they last played together.

“We imagine they are having quite a clubhouse meeting today.’’