|Born: July 22, 1921|
New York City, New York
|Died: November 13, 2017 (aged 96)|
Fort Wayne, Indiana
|April 15, 1952, for the St. Louis Browns|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 30, 1961, for the Kansas City Athletics|
|Runs batted in||422|
|Career highlights and awards|
Manuel Joseph "Jim" Rivera (July 22, 1921 – November 13, 2017) was an American professional baseball outfielder. He played for three Major League Baseball (MLB) teams over ten seasons: St. Louis Browns (1952), Chicago White Sox (1952–1961), and Kansas City Athletics (1961).
Rivera was born to Puerto Rican migrants in New York City. He was first called "Jim" when he was 17, "Big Jim" when he started playing for the Chicago White Sox during the 1952 season, and then "Jungle Jim" in 1953 which was initiated by Chicago Sun-Times sports writer Edgar Munzel. This was due largely to his unorthodox playing style, and for his highly extroverted personality. Rivera threw and batted left-handed; he stood 6 feet tall and weighed 196 pounds during his playing days.
In 1953, he led the American League in triples (16) and in 1955 in stolen bases with 25. He was a sparkplug for the 1950s Go-Go White Sox team which eventually won the American League pennant in 1959.
A smart and fast runner, Rivera ran the bases with abandon, sliding into bases on his belly before it was fashionable, and made many a game-saving catch playing right field. A ground ball hitter, he used his speed to full advantage and was a much tougher in clutch situations. However, in that year's World Series, which the White Sox lost in six games to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Rivera went hitless in 11 at-bats.
Rivera had a .256 lifetime batting average with 83 home runs, 422 RBIs, 503 runs, 155 doubles, and 56 triples in 1,171 games played. He also had a career total of 160 stolen bases and a lifetime .978 fielding average.
At age 40, Rivera appeared in 64 games for the Kansas City A's during the 1961 season, hitting .241 to cap his career. Rivera said Whitey Ford was the "toughest" pitcher he ever faced and he liked it when he was called "Big Jim."
Rivera died on November 13, 2017 at the age of 96.
- List of Major League Baseball annual triples leaders
- List of Major League Baseball annual stolen base leaders