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103-year-old burns that first pitch in there

Image: Emilio Navarro
Emilio Navarro of Puerto Rico was the leadoff hitter of the Cuban Stars in 1928. He's now 103 years old.Denis Poroy / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Emilio Navarro still has some accuracy, if not the range.

Navarro, who at 103 is believed to be the oldest living professional baseball player, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Oakland Athletics-San Diego Padres game on Saturday night. He was a guest of the Padres as part of the team's annual salute to the Negro Leagues.

Navarro made the throw on the fly from about 25 feet to Padres utilityman Edgar Gonzalez.

"I think I am in heaven now," Navarro said in perfect English shortly before he and other former Negro Leaguers were honored before the game.

He answered other questions through a translator.

"It's like a dream for me," said Navarro, who lives in Ponce, Puerto Rico. "I'm very proud to be here in such a great place. There are not a lot of places like this place. It's a dream for me and I'm really enjoying it."

Navarro was the shortstop and leadoff hitter for the Cuban Stars of the Eastern Colored League in 1928 and hit .337 the following year. He was elected to the Puerto Rico Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Puerto Rican Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

Others honored were Hall of Famer Monte Irvin; Don Newcombe, who also played in the big leagues; William "Skinny Legs" Blair; Neale "California Comet" Henderson; "Sweet" Lou Johnson; Walter McCoy; John "Mule" Miles; and Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, one of a handful of women who played in the Negro Leagues.