The Obit For Tony Curry

Tony Curry, Dead at 68

The Bahama Journal

17th October, 2006

By Fred Sturrup

Second Bahamian Major Leaguer

At the age of 68, early Monday morning, George Anthony Curry passed out of this life. Having suffered from kidney ailment in years ,Curry succumbed around 2 a.m.

The second Bahamian to play in the Major Leagues, he made his debut on April 12, 1960 with the Philadelphia Phillies in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. On that occasion, he had two official at bats, finishing the day with a hit and an RBI.

When he burst on the pro scene, he joined Andre Rodgers who predeceased him two Decembers ago.

Curry was signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in 1957 and stayed in the organization until 1962. He would be a part of three other baseball organizations during his career, namely the Cleveland Indians, California Angels and the Houston Astros.. Curry played in the National leagues for two seasons (1960/1961) with the Phillies and one season in the American League (1966) with the Cleveland Indians.

In all he played 129 games, had 297 at bats and compiled a .246 batting average. In 1960 at the age of 21, he seemed a lock on hall of fame status or something close when he was one of the top rookies in all of baseball.

That season, he played in 95 games, scored 26 runs, collected 64 hits, six of them homers, 14 doubles and two triples. Curry also drove home 34 runs. He batted .261 with a .408 slugging percentage and was named to the prestigious Topps All-Star Rookie Team. He joined Frank Howard and Tommy Davis of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the outfield selections.

Picked for first base on that 1960 rookie team, was Jim Gentile of the Baltimore Orioles, Ron Santo of the Chicago Cubs was at third, Ron Hansen of the Orioles at short stop, Julian Javier of the St. Louis Cardinals at second base, and teammate Jimmie Coker behind the plate. The Orioles’ Chuck Estrada was selected the right hand pitcher and Cleveland’s Dick Stigman was the Lefty.

Curry played left field and centre field during his stints in the Majors, compiling a .978 fielding average.

Upon retiring in 1966, Curry returned home and remained a noted figure.

In 2003, the Government of the Bahamas, through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture dedicated a park at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre in Curry’s honour. On Monday, Sports Minister Hon. Neville Wisdom spoke about the occasion.

"We were happy to be able to bestow that honour on Tony and were pleased when he expressed happiness that such a facility was connected to his name. You know his passion was always baseball and the development of the youth. He was a personal friend of mine and a fine role model for the youth.

"The park was dedicated at the very same time as the Henry Crawford Fitness Centre and on that occasion, Andre Rodgers was there also. It was just great to have both of them there. As I reflect on that, I think of how much he will be missed.

There are those though who lament Curry "not getting his due."

Fellow Bahamian professional player Vince Ferguson who was a part of the Atlanta Braves system, called his passing "Too bad and sad."

"The baseball world has lost a hero who didn’t get his full due. Now, all kinds of accolades will be heaped upon him. It’s seems that’s the way things are done here," said Ferguson

He recalled fondly an occasion when he visited with Curry in 1960. He remembered interacting also with Curry’s teammates Pancho Herrera and Tony Taylor.

Curry through the years although sometimes far removed from the sports scene, was always happy to talk baseball and about other disciplines. His funeral service will take place on Saturday, October 21st beginning 11 a.m. at St. Matthew’s Church.

Anthony Curry passes away

The Nassau Guardian



Less than two years ago, a teary-eyed George Anthony 'Tony' Curry and the rest of The Bahamas mourned the passing of the Bahamian pioneer in the major leagues, Andre Rodgers, and now Curry himself has joined his former best friend, teammate, colleague and mentor among the deceased.

The entire country was in shock when Curry, who played for two professional franchises over a three-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career, died early yesterday morning at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) from an apparent renal failure. He was the second Bahamian to play in the major leagues, and along with Rodgers, helped to pave the wayfor other baseball greats to follow such as: Wenty Ford and Wilfred Culmer (both deceased); Ed Armbrister; Vince Ferguson; and Henry 'Hank' Williams just to name a few.

Apparently, Curry who was in and out of the hospital for the past five years, died suddenly at 12:15 a.m. Monday morning on Male Medical Ward One of PMH. His death shocked and saddened the entire Bahamian community, but according to his family, they knew the time was near.

"He was really in a lot of pain over the past 10 days, and we knew it was getting worse," said second oldest daughter Donree Curry-Bain. "He didn't want to eat and wasn't taking his medication. Our mom just said that daddy is dying and she prepared everyone for his death. We were kind of prepared - we just wasn't sure when. We loved him and we'll miss him," she added. At 68 years of age, Curry is survived by his wife Norma, four children - Antona 42; Donree 40; Tina 35; Antoine 33; and four grandchildren. He was born on December 22, 1937, the same month as his predecessor and former best friend Rodgers.

Curry initially suffered kidney failure about five years ago and was placed on dialysis on a regular basis. Since his initial brush with death, he had frequent visits to the hospital especially this past summer when he was admitted for a blood clot in his shoulder. As a result of that blood clot, he traveled to Miami, Florida to have surgery. Upon his return to New Providence, Curry's health gradually declined. He was re-admitted to PMH on October 5, where he remained before succumbing to his sickness early Monday morning.

"He was always a good father. He loved to sing and loved the water. We spent a lot of time on the beach and together as a family," said youngest daughter Tina. "Daddy always had an open ear and wanted to talk about anything. He really loved his children," she reminisced.

Curry enjoyed a three-year MLB career with the Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Indians organisations in which he played in 129 major league games, and had career numbers of a .246 batting average, six home runs and 40 RBIs. He eventually returned home after the 1966 season and played a vital role in the development of baseball in the country. He was one of the founding members and a former vice president of the Association of Former and Present Professional Baseball Players of The Bahamas, and was a member right up until his death.

"He was a happy guy all the time - a joyful and a good father," said daughter Donree. "He was always smiling and well loved. Only myself and my older sister were born when he played in the major leagues so I can't say much about his playing career but we have heard the stories and how good he was." Donree Curry-Bain said her father was also a God-fearing man with strong Christian values. "He always wanted us to go to church and pay our respects to God - not just on Sundays but throughout the week as well," she said. "He loved his family very much and he was extremely thankful for us all. Everything he did was centred around his family."

On the field, Curry was often described as a man with an unbelievable work ethic, who was able to excel because of his determination, and dedication to the game of baseball, and his desire to constantly improve. As a Bahamian ambassador playing professional baseball, he represented the country well. He made a distinguished contribution to baseball locally and internationally, and his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of Bahamians everywhere.