Former Sox outfielder Rivera passes away

'Jungle Jim' played for 1959 American League pennant winner

Former Sox outfielder Rivera passes away

CHICAGO -- Jim Rivera, an outfielder on the White Sox 1959 American League pennant-winning squad, passed away Monday night at the age of 96 in Fort Wayne, Ind.

"Jungle Jim" played for the White Sox from 1952-61, hitting .257 with 134 doubles, 50 triples, 77 home runs, 382 RBIs and 146 stolen bases over 1,010 games.

Rivera appeared in all five games of the 1959 World Series vs. the Dodgers, including three starts in right field. He also played for the St. Louis Browns in '52 and the Kansas City Athletics in '61. Rivera led the AL in triples (16) in 1953 and stolen bases in 1955 (25).

His best season was in 1953, when Rivera hit .259 with 11 homers, 78 RBIs, 26 doubles, 16 triples and 22 steals. Rivera finished with 523 career strikeouts against 365 walks over 4,008 career plate appearances.

Jim Rivera joined his former teammates at the ballpark during the 2005 World Series. Pictured (from left): J.C. Martin, Billy Pierce, Rivera, Luis Aparicio, former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, Jim Landis and Bob Shaw. (Getty)

"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 last night," the White Sox said in a statement released Tuesday. "Jim was a key member of the Go-Go White Sox teams of the 1950s, teaming with fellow outfielders Minnie Minoso, Jim Landis and others.

"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. We extend our condolences to Nancy Rivera and the entire Rivera family on his passing."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.