`Cy' Block, 1919-2004
Former Cubs infielder Seymour "Cy" Block, whose granddaughter's quest to obtain a rare baseball card depicting him was told in Q ("It's a Swing and a Miss," Sept. 29, 2002), died Sept. 22 on Long Island, N.Y. He was 85.
"He had a wonderful life, with a lot of people who loved him," said Harriet Block, his wife of 61 years. "So we're celebrating his life."
The Blocks' granddaughter Julie Sollinger had tried to win Cy's baseball card on eBay. The card was from a set produced in 1976 and 1977 by two baseball card show promoters, and only 1,000 of them were made. But Sollinger was outbid--the winning card went for $61--and when she tried to buy the card from the auction winner, she was rebuffed.
She did, however, eventually get one of the cards from the brother of the original seller, and later gave it to her grandfather, who suffered from Alzheimer's in his final years.
Block was an infielder for the 1942, '45 and '46 Cubs, with career totals of just 53 at-bats in 17 games. He retired with a lifetime .302 major-league average. After baseball, he started a highly successful insurance and pension company. He was active in charities, especially those benefiting children, and he even wrote a book, "So You Want to Be a Major Leaguer," that detailed his life in baseball.
"He had a fabulous life. Just fabulous," said Sollinger, a Chicago attorney. "He had a great family, a great time playing baseball, and I think he really enjoyed his work."
"Baseball and the children," Harriet said, describing the joys of Cy's life. "He was very active with children in sports, in baseball, and we had a Lower East Side [baseball] program for kids who were underprivileged. And he played with them every Saturday. He also started several Little Leagues here. He was a very charitable man, and everyone loved him."
In addition to his wife, Cy is survived by three daughters, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He's also survived by two teammates from the 1945 Cubs, the franchise's last World Series team: shortstop Lenny Merullo, 87, and outfielder Andy Pafko, 83.