Kent State baseball Alum Spiroff dies unexpectedly
By Bill Lilley
Published on Tuesday, Aug 26, 2008
George Spiroff, a Kent State University Varsity ''K'' Athletic Hall of Fame member and a college baseball All-American, died unexpectedly at his home in Avon on Sunday evening after playing catcher in two senior league games. He was 49.
''What makes this so devastating is that George was in phenomenal shape,'' said Kenmore High School baseball coach Joe Nauer, a teammate of Spiroff's for 15 years on the Akron A's senior baseball team.
''He was the epitome of someone who really took care of himself. This is shocking,'' Nauer said.
Mr. Spiroff graduated from Lorain Southview in 1978 and went to Kent State, where he was a standout as a catcher from 1978-81.
Mr. Spiroff was a first-team All-Mid-American Conference honoree for Kent State in 1980 and a second-team honoree in 1981. He also earned third-team Division I All-American honors in 1980.
Mr. Spiroff was the 10th player drafted in the ninth round of the 1981 Major League Baseball Draft by the San Francisco Giants. He played two years in the Giants' farm system before retiring from pro baseball after the 1982 season, which he spent in Class A in Fresno, Calif.
He returned to the area and starred in amateur baseball in Akron and Cleveland.
Mr. Spiroff had worked for the United States Postal Service in Cleveland.
He was inducted into the Varsity ''K'' Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990 in a seven-person class that also included football coach Lou Holtz and Olympic hammer thrower Jud Logan. Mr. Spiroff was inducted into the Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
He never quit playing.
''George caught a doubleheader Sunday in Cleveland in the Roy Hobbs Senior League,'' fellow senior baseball league player Carl Rakich said. ''He was in great shape and felt great during the games, but came home and started to feel bad.''
Nauer said it is believed Spiroff had a heart attack. Paramedics were unable to revive him.
Mr. Spiroff helped the Akron A's win four Roy Hobbs Senior League baseball national championships in Florida.
''I would do anything for George,'' Nauer said. ''He was my idol and taught me so much about baseball in the 15 years we played on the Akron A's.
''But more than that, he was an incredible person.''
Spiroff leaves his wife, Michelle, and three children: Kent State University student Melanie and Avon High School students Amanda and Matthew.
Funeral arrangements are pending.