Recent Passings

Mike Ilitch, Little Caesars Founder and Detroit Sports Owner, Dies at 87

By Richard Goldstein
The New York Times
February 10, 2017

Mike Ilitch, a self-made son of immigrants who founded Little Caesars Pizza in a Detroit suburb and also owned baseball’s Tigers and hockey’s Red Wings, building a business, sports and entertainment empire that made him among America’s wealthiest men and helped change the face of his native city, died on Friday in Detroit. He was 87.

His death was announced by his company, Ilitch Holdings.

Mr. Ilitch and his wife, Marian, had a net worth of $6.1 billion at his death, according to Forbes.

Mr. Ilitch never went to college and failed in his bid to make it from the Tigers’ minor league chain, where he played shortstop, to the major leagues.

He found his calling in the business world when he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars, in Garden City, a Detroit suburb, in 1959. It became the world’s largest carryout pizza chain, known for TV ads announcing “Pizza! Pizza!” two-for-one deals.

Turning to the sports world, Mr. Ilitch spent freely and eventually turned around franchises that experienced many lean years. His Tigers won two American League pennants, and his Red Wings of the National Hockey League won four Stanley Cup championships.

He bought the Fox Theater in downtown Detroit in the late 1980s, refurbished it and created an entertainment hub for the city. He moved his corporate headquarters from suburban Farmington Hills into the 10-story building that contains the Fox.

Mr. Ilitch broke into sports ownership in 1982, when he paid a reported $8 million to purchase the Red Wings from the Norris family. Once a powerhouse with names like Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Terry Sawchuk, the franchise was struggling.

In August 1985, Mr. Ilitch, commenting on why his Red Wings were aggressive in pursuing free agents, said: “I hate to lose. I happen to be a fan with an owner’s pocketbook.”

His Wings won the Stanley Cup championship in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008, and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003 and into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame a year later.

Mr. Ilitch, who became known as Mr. I, bought the Tigers from the Domino’s pizza founder Tom Monaghan for $85 million in 1992.

Starting in 1994, the Tigers had 12 consecutive losing seasons, but in 2000 they moved from the aging Tiger Stadium to Comerica Park.

Get the big sports news, highlights and analysis from Times journalists, delivered to your inbox every week.
Receive occasional updates and special offers for The New York Times's products and services.

See Sample Privacy Policy

They won the 2006 American League pennant, then lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. They were in the World Series again in 2012, featuring the sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder and pitchers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, but were swept by the San Francisco Giants.

“I’m not afraid to go out and spend money,” Mr. Ilitch said. “It’s been very costly, but I’m not going to change my ways.”

Mike Ilitch was born on July 20, 1929, a son of Sotir Ilitch, a machinist, and Sultana Tasseff Ilitch, who had come to the United States from Macedonia in 1924. He was an all-city athlete in baseball and track at Cooley High School, served four years in the Marines, then signed with the Tigers’ minor league system, but his baseball-playing career ended after a few seasons when he sustained a knee injury.

He worked as a door-to-door salesman until he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars on May 8, 1959. A food service distribution company soon followed to supply ingredients and other products for restaurants. Blue Line Foodservice grew into one of the largest food service distribution companies in the country.

Mr. Ilitch’s charitable endeavors included the Little Caesars Love Kitchen, a restaurant on wheels to feed the hungry and help with food distribution following national disasters.

The Ilitch organization has embarked on a $1.2 billion District Detroit project, transforming dozens of largely vacant blocks in downtown Detroit into a neighborhood including office and residential spaces.

All of Mr. Ilitch’s businesses have their headquarters in the Detroit metropolitan area. His son Christopher is president and chief executive officer of Ilitch Holdings.

In addition to his wife and his son Christopher, Mr. Ilitch is survived by his sons Michael Jr., Atanas and Ron; his daughters, Denise, Lisa and Carole; 22 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

“Mike Ilitch was more than just a shrewd, successful businessman,” Detroit’s mayor, Mike Duggan, said in a statement. “He was a Detroiter through and through. Whether he was making pizza, building successful sports and entertainment franchises or supporting youth organizations in our city, Mr. I helped to bring thousands of jobs and opportunities to our city and attract millions of dollars of investment.”

Marshall "Mark" Brownson

Published in The Palm Beach Post from Feb. 5 to Feb. 6, 2017

Marshall "Mark" Brownson, passed away on February 1, 2017 at the age of 41. Mark graduated from Wellington High in 1993.

He was the 1st baseball player from Wellington to make it to the major leagues.

He was predeceased by his brother Travis. He is survived by his mother Ginny Brownson, father Jack (Paula) Brownson and his daughters Madisyn and Aliah Brownson.

Services will be at Palms West Funeral Home on February 11, visitation from 4:00PM to 7:00PM, service at 7:00PM.

Robert Leroy Bowman
May 10, 1930 - January 27, 2017

Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Jan. 31, 2017

Resident of San Jose
Bob was born in humble beginnings in Laytonville, CA by parents John Bowman and Olive Bowman. One of the original pioneering families in Mendocino, his great grandparents settled along the Eel River.

Bob moved to San Jose to attend Lincoln High School in 1946, where he met his life-long love, Joyce Call. He was an avid athlete, excelling in basketball, football and baseball.
Baseball became his calling while at Napa Junior College. He was unexpectedly drafted to the Klamath Falls, OR Triple A team, when he accompanied a buddy who was trying out.
Bob and Joyce wed in 1950. Shortly thereafter Bob was drafted to the Philadelphia Phillies to play right field. With 6 pitching appearances as a position player, he holds a couple Major League records. Bob and Joyce traveled extensively for baseball to places like Caracas, Venezuela for Summer Ball. Son, Bradley, was born and became part of Bob's entourage.

Bob and Joyce returned to San Jose (Cambrian area), retiring from Major League baseball, adding Sheridan and Jacqueline to their family. Bob became Sales Manager at Joseph George Distributing, where he worked for 31 years. Both Bob and Joyce were avid volunteers in the community, with Lucille Salter Packard Stanford Children's Hospital San Jose Auxiliary (Thrift Box on Lincoln Ave) and Camden High Booster Club.

Bob was an extremely talented handyman and helped build his cabin home next to his high school friends, the Myers family, in Lake Almanor Country Club. There the two families (6 kids total) enjoyed year round activities in the outdoors and made wonderful memories together.

Bob and Joyce entertained tirelessly, stressing the importance of having family over on Sundays and friends flowing through the front door endlessly. He was known for his grilling abilities, as well as cocktail mixes and laughter. He told a good joke and was always classy and caring toward others. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at Lou's Village surrounded by life long friends and family.

Retiring from Joseph George in 1990, Bob and Joyce built a new home at Lake Almanor. They became very active for the volunteer fire fighters' "Fire Sirens" Thrift Shop in the Country Club. Kids and grandkids visited often, playing tennis, golf, waterskiing, attending "Family Nights" and cementing more life long friendships. Bob was a great fisherman and golfer. They remained there until Joyce died in 2004. He moved shortly thereafter to The Villages in San Jose, with his furry companion, Russell. He continued to play golf and make new friends in his bridge group. His kids loved having him close by, celebrating birthdays with lively bocce ball games at The Villages.

Bob was a gentle giant who was loved by all. Hes survived by his son, Bradley (Diana), daughters Sheridan and Jacqueline & grandkids Daniel, Andrew (Michelle), Ryan, Lindsay, Micheal (Sarah) and Steven.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in his memory to Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital.

As Bob wished, there is no service, however we're planning an event in the Spring to honor his wonderful life.

Walter Herbert Streuli
1935 - 2017

Published in The Commercial Appeal on Jan. 29, 2017

Walter Herbert "Walt" Streuli, 81 of Greensboro, NC passed away peacefully on Thursday, January 19, 2017 at Whitestone Care and Wellness Center. A celebration of life service will be held at 3:00 PM on Saturday, February, 4, 2017, at Forbis & Dick Elm Street Chapel. The family will receive friends following the service.

Walt was born on September 26, 1935 in Memphis, TN. to the late Thelma Wilcoxon and Edwin "Boots" Streuli. He had a stellar athletic career at Central High School in Memphis, where he lettered in basketball, baseball, and football. He was honored to have been named captain of the football team like his father before him. Walt then went on to play professional baseball for the Detroit Tigers. On April 12,1958, he married the love of his life, Beverly Boyer Streuli.

He later attended Southwestern College in Memphis before becoming Vice President of Sales for the E.L. Bruce Hardwood Flooring Co. After moving to Greensboro in 1974, Walt started and put his life into Streuli Sales, Inc. and its employees.

Walt was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro where he taught youth Sunday School. Through the years, he was also active in the Kiwanis Club, Greensboro Colt League Baseball, and Yokefellow Prison Ministries of Greensboro. He enjoyed traveling with Beverly throughout Europe and especially the many trips to New York City.

In addition to his parents, Walt was preceded in death by his brother Edwin. He is survived by his wife of 58 years Beverly B. Streuli, of the home; children, Tripp Streuli (Jan), Steve Streuli (Terri), and Melissa Streuli; grandchildren, Justin, Christopher, Seth, Taylor, and Davis.

In lieu of flowers; the family requests memorial donations made to Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.

Kenneth Warren Wright, Jr.
September 4, 1946 - January 21, 2017

Published in Pensacola News Journal on Jan. 25, 2017

Kenneth Warren Wright, Jr. was born and raised in Warrington. Ken spent his early years playing little league baseball and attending Warrington Baptist Church. Upon graduation from Escambia High school, he signed a professional baseball contract with the Boston Redsox. While playing minor league ball in Pittsfield, Mass he met his devoted wife Jill (Jilda) and soon married.

Drafted to the KC Royals major leagues in 1969, Ken went onto play in the major leagues the next four years with KC before being traded with this best friend Lou Pinella to the NY Yankees. Ken played several more years with the Yankees and Philadelphia organizations and retired due to ongoing injuries from baseball.

After leaving baseball, ken had several occupations in insurance, real estate, heating and air conditioning, and coached little league baseball. Ken spent his last 16 years as manager of WEAC. Along with his parents, he was instrumental in the establishment and ongoing management of WEAC for the past 30 years.

Ken leaves his loving wife of 50 years Jill, daughter; Lisa Stefano, son; Kenneth W. Wright III, brother; Michael (Anna) Wright and 2 nieces.

We are eternal, yet like fireflies. We light upon this earth for a season. Returning home, beings of light, dancing with the stars.

A graveside service will be held at St. John's Cemetery Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 11:45 am officiated by Mike Bailey. Oak Lawn Funeral Home is entrusted with the arrangements.

Current, former major leaguers die in Dominican crashes

The Associated Press
Published January 22, 2017

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura (left) and former Arizona Diamondbacks' Andy Marte (right) were killed in two separate car crashes in the Dominican Republic. (AP Photos)

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura and former major leaguer Andy Marte died in separate traffic accidents early Sunday in their native Dominican Republic.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo said Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles northwest of Santo Domingo. It was not clear if Ventura was driving.

Metropolitan traffic authorities say Marte died when the Mercedes Benz he was driving hit a house along a road between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles north of the capital.

Ventura, 25, burst onto the baseball scene with a 100 mph fastball and an explosive attitude to match. He was a fierce competitor always willing to challenge hitters inside, then deal with the ramifications when they decided to charge the mound.

He went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 2014, his first full season in the big leagues, and helped the long-downtrodden Royals reach the World Series for the first time since 1985. He proceeded to dominate San Francisco in both of his starts, though the Royals would ultimately lose in seven games.

Marte, a 33-year-old infielder, played in the Major Leagues from 2005-2010 with Atlanta and Cleveland and returned in 2014 with Arizona. He hit .218 with 21 home runs and 99 RBIs in the big leagues. He spent the last two seasons in South Korea, where he hit 22 homers last year.

Both Ventura and Marte were part of the Dominican winter league team Aguilas Cibaenas, though neither was playing this season.

"We have awoken this Sunday with this sad news that we have lost a special being," club president Winston Llenas said in a statement about Marte that was issued before Ventura's death became known.

Two other active Dominican baseball players have died on the country's dangerous highways in recent years.

St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Oscar Taveras died in 2014 when he crashed in his hometown of Puerto Plata. He was 22. Shortstop Andujar Cedeno died at age 31 in a 2000 crash in the city of La Romana.

A 2015 study by the World Health Organization found that the Dominican Republic had the highest traffic accident death rate in the Americas, with a rate of 29.3 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Richard E. Starr, Sr.

The Bauer Funeral Home
January 20, 2017

Richard E. Starr, Sr., 95, of Kittanning, PA, died Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at the Armstrong County Health Center.

He was born March 2, 1921 in Kittanning, the son of John A. and Emma F. (Walker) Starr.

Richard graduated from Kittanning High School in 1938 and for three years was a pitcher for the Butler Yankees baseball team. He then honorably served in the US Army during World War II and after returning home in 1945, entered the minor leagues. After nearly 10 years of pitching for the New York Yankees, St. Louis Browns, and Washington Senators, he retired from baseball in 1956. Richard then went to work as a processing clerk at Allegheny Ludlum in Leechburg, retiring in 1982 after 26 years.

He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Kittanning and volunteered as a Red Coat for many years at Armstrong County Memorial Hospital. Richard was also a dedicated Mason and was Past Master at F&AM Kittanning Lodge #244, a 32nd-degree Mason at the New Castle Consistory and member of the Orient Royal Arch #247. For a number of years, he coached for Tri-County League baseball and local Little League baseball teams. Richard was also a life member of the Professional Baseball Players Association and was inducted into the Armstrong County Sports Hall of Fame on January 13, 1973, also serving on the organization's Board of Directors.

His memory will be cherished by his loving wife of nearly 75 years, Bonnie I. (Leech) Starr, whom he married February 8, 1942; sons, Richard E. Starr, Jr., of Kittanning, and Rev. William J. Starr and wife, Nancy, of Elizabeth, PA; daughter, Carolyn J. Gallaher, of Kittanning; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Richard was predeceased by his parents; granddaughter, Amy Gallaher; grandson, David M. Gallaher; brother, John A. Starr; sisters, Imogene Steffy and Pauline Starr; son-in-law, David Gallaher; and a daughter-in-law, Linda (Labutka) Starr.

Relatives and friends will be received from 2-4 and 7-9 PM on Friday, January 20, 2017 at Bauer Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., 515 N. McKean St., Kittanning, where a Masonic service will be held at 7 PM.

Additional visitation will be from 10 AM until the time of funeral services at 11 AM on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at the funeral home, with the Rev. Wade Berkey officiating.

Burial will be in Lawn Haven Burial Estates, Worthington, Pennsylvania, where military honors will be presented by the Vandergrift Veterans Honor Guard.

Longtime pitching coach Adams dies at 95

By Ken Gurnick /
January 19th, 2017

Los Angeles -- Longtime Dodgers pitching guru Red Adams, who served as pitching coach for Hall of Fame managers Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda, died on Wednesday. He was 95.

Adams, who won 193 games pitching for 19 seasons in the Minor Leagues, was the Major League pitching coach from 1969-80. During that time he coached Dodgers mainstays such as Don Sutton, Burt Hooton, Jim Brewer, Charlie Hough and Rick Sutcliffe, and the team reached the World Series in 1974, '77 and '78.

"No person ever meant more to my career than Red Adams," Sutton said during his Hall of Fame induction in 1998. "Without him, I would not be standing in Cooperstown today."

Adams also scouted for the Dodgers for 10 years after appearing in eight games for the Cubs in 1946, his only Major League action as a player.

Longtime baseball executive Dan O’Brien Sr. dies at 87

The Associated Press
January 17, 2017 at 9:34p ET

Arlington, Texas (AP) Longtime major league executive Dan O’Brien Sr. has died at 87.

The Texas Rangers said he died Monday in Dallas. The Rangers were one of four major league teams with whom O’Brien held front-office jobs over 45 years in professional baseball. O’Brien was the Rangers’ second general manager, from 1973 to 1978.

He began his baseball career in 1955 as a minor league general manager and spent 10 years in the minors before joining the Rangers. He left Texas to become president and later general manager of the Seattle Mariners. He also worked in the front office with the Cleveland Indians, California Angels, Arizona Fall League and USA Baseball before his retirement in 2000.

His son, Dan O’Brien Jr., was general manager of the Cincinnati Reds during the 2004-05 seasons after working an assistant GM in Texas from 1996 to 2003.


Stuart Locklin
1928 - 2016

Published in the Albuquerque Journal on Dec. 11, 2016

Stuart (Stu) Carlton Locklin, age 88, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, December 4, 2016. Stu was born on July 22, 1928 in Appleton, WI, to parents Howard and Elsie (Wickeham) Locklin. Stu was the oldest of three children, with brothers Mory and Ronald. In his youth, Stu excelled in athletics, academics, and developed a strong foundation in spirituality. A local nun in his hometown inspired him at a young age to live a life of devotion to Mary and the Catholic Faith.

Stu graduated with bachelors and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin, and earned three athletic letters as a three-sport athlete. He signed a professional baseball contract with the Cleveland Indians organization in 1949, and played with the team in Cleveland in 1955-56. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1952 and served through 1954 where met his wife Judy Loomer. They were married in Boston in 1955 and went on to have seven children, Sharon, Stuart Edward, foster son Charles Huycke, Leanne, Stephen, Brian Christopher and Karen.

After a career in baseball, they returned home to Appleton. There he served as a teacher, coach, and guidance counselor, as well as a coordinator of the City's youth baseball program. Stu had deep roots of service and charity in Appleton. He and Judy were proud and active members of various church and charitable organizations. He moved to Albuquerque in 2005 where he resided until the Lord took him home. His kind, compassionate, and generous spirit were a light and a role model to many. At the end, he shared his gratefulness to God for the blessing of a life graced by faith, family, and friends by stating "it's beautiful!"

Stu was preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Elsie, his brother Ronald and Mory, his wife Judy, and children Matthew and Chuck. He is survived by children Sharon Locklin (Ken Heer) of Green Bay, WI; Stuart E. Locklin of Albuquerque; Leanne Locklin (Lisa Gomez) of Albuquerque; Stephen Locklin (Lisa Hanson) of Green Bay, WI; Brian Locklin (Diane Wisor) of Albuquerque; Karen Cantoja (Al) of Albuquerque; grandchildren Shandra Shears, Lorenzo Cantoja, Jazmarie Wisor, Leonard Garcia, and Brian VanDenzen (Liz), along with great-granddaughter Lucia.

A Rosary beginning at 8:30AM and Mass of the Resurrection at 9:00AM will be held Tuesday, December 13 at Holy Family Church, 562 Atrisco Drive SW, Albuquerque, NM. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Holy Family St. Vincent de Paul, Albuquerque, NM or the charity of your choice.

NOLA native, former major leaguer ‘Putsy’ Caballero dies at 89

Lenny Vangilder
December 8, 2016 - 7:34 PM CST

Putsy CaballeroRalph “Putsy” Caballero – a native New Orleanian who became the youngest third baseman in major league history – died Thursday, his son Ricky confirmed.

He was 89.

Caballero, who attended Jesuit and Loyola, was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as a 16-year-old on Sept. 9, 1944. Less than a week later, he was in the majors.

At age 22 in 1950, Caballero was a part of a youthful 1950 Phillies team that became known as the “Whiz Kids” and reached the World Series. Caballero’s teammates included Robin Roberts and Richie Ashburn.

Caballero played parts of eight seasons in the majors. After he retired from baseball, he owned and operated an exterminating company in New Orleans.

An online post from this summer indicated that Caballero was one of the last 24 surviving players of Major League Baseball during World War II.

Caballero was honored twice by his hometown. He was a 1994 inductee into the Allstate Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame and a 2009 inductee into the New Orleans Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Ralph Branca, beloved Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher who gave up ‘Shot Heard ‘Round the World’ home run, dead at 90

Bill Madden
The New York Daily News
Wednesday, November 23, 2016, 10:02 PM

Ralph Branca, a good man who was on the bad side of baseball’s most enduring, climactic home run – Bobby Thomson’s Shot Heard ’Round the World – died Wednesday morning at a nursing home in Rye.

He was 90 and for 65 years bore the “goat” label and private pain with more dignity and class than anyone could have ever imagined.

Branca’s son-in-law, the ex-Met manager Bobby Valentine, shared the news of his death on Twitter. Valentine is married to Branca’s daughter, Mary.

“One of the greatest guys to ever throw a pitch or sing a song is (no) longer with us,” Valentine tweeted. “Ralph
Branca Passed this morning.

Ralph Branca should be remembered for his dignity, not one pitch.
“In his 91st year on Earth he left us with the same dignity and grace that defined his everyday on earth. He will be truly missed!!!”

Although they had faced each other two days earlier with the same results, Thomson’s one-out, three-run homer off Branca in the third game of the best-of-three playoff that won the National League pennant for the Giants over the Dodgers on Oct. 3, 1951 has remained in the annals as the signature dramatic event in baseballory.

Branca, the burly, 6-3, 220-pound native of Mount Vernon, N.Y., was understandably devastated in the immediate aftermath of giving up the home run that sent Giants broadcaster Russ Hodges into his hysterical chant, “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”
The footage of Branca in front of his locker, his head buried in his hands, moaning, “Why me? Why me?” is almost as famous as that of Thomson crossing home plate at the Polo Grounds and leaping into the arms of his jubilant Giants teammates. But from then on, Branca handled his infamy with uncommon valor, accepting it as destiny and God’s will, and later actually formed a bond with Thomson, with whom he did book promotions, public speaking and card show appearances for many years until his Giant rival’s death in 2010.

That winter, at the New York Baseball Writers Association annual dinner, Branca, who had a professional baritone singing voice, even agreed to sing a parody of the home run pitch in a takeoff of the Tony Bennett hit song at the time, “Because of You.”

Facing Thomson on the stage, Branca sang:

Because of you, I should never been born

Because of you, Dodger fans are forlorn

Lupica: Thomson's 'shot' will live forever
Because of you, they yelled drop dead

And several million want my head

To sever forever in scorn…

“We knocked ’em dead that night,” Branca said proudly, and a week later the two appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show where they did an encore performance of the parody for a national TV audience.

That same winter, Branca, in an interview with J.G. Taylor Spink of the Sporting News, revealed how he’d gotten hundreds of letters from Dodger fans but was pleasantly surprised that the majority of them were sympathetic to him.

“People I’ve never seen have written me, telling me they knew how I felt and that things would be better next season,” Branca said. “They say they’re behind me and they know I’ll make up for it in 1952.”

As Branca later related, another source of strength for him in dealing with his infamy were the words of a Jesuit priest, Pat Rowley, who was the second cousin of his soon-to-be-wife, Ann Mulvey, the daughter of one of the Dodger owners. In a sedan in the Polo Grounds parking lot after the game, Rowley turned to Branca, sitting with his fiancee in the back seat, and said: “It could have happened to anyone. You did your best.” But when Branca repeated his “why me?” lament, Rowley said sternly: “The reason God picked you to throw that pitch was because He knew that your faith was strong enough to withstand the agonies that would follow.”

Still, in 2001 came the revelations in a Wall Street Journal story by Joshua Prager that the Giants, in overcoming a 13 1/2-game deficit to the Dodgers in August, had benefitted from an elaborate sign-stealing scheme, using a telescope and a buzzer system at the Polo Grounds. When the story broke, Thomson admitted the Giants had been stealing signs and that he himself had taken some. But he denied to his dying day he knew what pitch was coming from Branca for that fateful Oct. 3, 1951 home run.

For his part, Branca said he’d known about the Giants’ sign-stealing since 1954 when a Detroit Tigers teammate, Ted Gray, told him about it. A year later, when Branca had signed on with the Giants’ Triple-A farm team in Minneapolis, two Giants pitchers, Al Worthington and Alex Konikowski, came to him in consolation and also confirmed the sign stealing.

“I never said a word about it all those years because I didn’t want to diminish that moment in time,” Branca said after the story broke. “But now I can talk about it. I’m not bitter, but the evidence is irrefutable. How does a team that was 59-51 go 37-7 the rest of the way?”

What was also not widely reported through the years was that when Branca was summoned into that game by Dodgers manager Charlie Dressen to relieve Don Newcombe with one out, two on and the score 4-2, it was his third appearance in four games. On Sept. 30, he’d pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief against the Philadelphia Phillies and, a day later, pitched eight innings – and took the 3-1 loss after surrendering a two-run homer to Thomson in the fourth inning — as the Dodger starter against the Giants in the first game of the playoffs.

Much as Branca longed to redeem himself to Dodger fans, that ’51 season, in which he was 13-12 with a 3.26 ERA, proved to be his last good year in the majors. Prior to that, he’d been a three-time All-Star, with a career-best 21-12 mark with a 2.67 ERA and 280 innings in 1947, followed by a 14-9 record in ’48 and 13-5 in ’49.

In 1947, Branca exhibited another example of courage when, in the pre-game introductions on the Dodgers’ Opening Day at Ebbets Field, he made a point to stand next to Jackie Robinson, who had received numerous death threats for being the first African-American to break baseball’s color line. For years afterward, Robinson always cited Branca as one of his biggest champions.

“Ralph’s always been close to us,” said Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s widow, in an interview with Westchester Magazine in 2014. “There were players who were hostile to Jack and tried to provoke him. Ralph was one of the players who supported him openly. Jack liked and admired him as a friend even after (Ralph) left the Dodgers.”

Added Willie Mays in a Wednesday interview with the Daily News: “Ralph was one of three white players who came to the South and played with Jackie (Robinson) when he was on a barnstorming team. Roy (Campanella) called me in ’52 or ’53. I was in the Army at the time. I was offered $18,000 to play on that team, which was a lot of money then.”

Mays knew all about the enduring friendship between Branca and Robinson. “Ralph and Jackie both lived in Connecticut, I believe, and Ralph would drive Jackie to the ballpark (Ebbets Field) and he would take Jackie home after games,” Mays said. “That surprised me because in those days you didn’t do that stuff.”

Several baseball people referred to Branca’s relationship with Robinson as they reacted to the pitcher’s death, including baseball commissioner Rob Manfred.

“I extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends and fellow admirers of Ralph Branca, a three-time All-Star, a friend of Jackie Robinson and a former President and board member of the Baseball Assistance Team,” Manfred said in a statement. “Ralph was a true gentleman who earned universal respect in the game he loved and served so well.

“Ralph’s participation in the ‘Shot Heard ’Round the World’ was eclipsed by the grace and sportsmanship he demonstrated following one of the game’s signature moments. He is better remembered for his dedication to the members of the baseball community. He was an inspiration to so many of us.

“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my best wishes to Ralph’s wife Ann, his daughter Mary, his son-in-law Bobby Valentine and his many friends throughout the National Pastime.”

Through almost his entire time with the Dodgers, before and after his unluckiest day, Branca wore No. 13. A back injury suffered in 1952 limited the big righthander to 16 games that year and he was never the same pitcher. In ’53, the Dodgers sold him to the Tigers and by ’56 his career was over. His lifetime record was 86-68 with a 3.79 ERA and 19 shutouts.

Branca’s baseball afterlife was very possibly more rewarding for him than his playing career. He was a popular celebrity around New York, frequently asked to perform the Star-Spangled Banner at games and dinners, and in September 1963, he appeared on the TV game show “Concentration,” scoring a record 17 straight wins. In 1986, he was one of the founders of the Baseball Assistance Team (BAT), which has raised millions of dollars to help indigent former major league players, managers, coaches, umpires and office personnel.

On Aug. 31, 2010, Branca made an appearance at a memorial service for Thomson in Scotch Plains, N.J. “I came to say goodbye to an old friend,” he said. “We shared some great moments and played in the golden era of baseball, especially in New York. I’ve often said I lost the game but I ended up making a good friend.”

Branca, the 15th of 17 children who grew up in Mount Vernon, attended NYU and lived at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., is survived by his wife, Ann, whom he married Oct. 29, 1951, and two daughters, Patti and Mary, who is married to former Mets manager Bobby Valentine.

Rep. Pete King called Branca a “New York legend” in a statement released by the congressman’s office.

“I just received the sad news that my good friend Ralph Branca has passed away,” King wrote. “Ralph was a New York legend who was a star pitcher on the famed Brooklyn Dodgers ‘Boys of Summer’ teams of the 1940s and ’50s. Even more importantly, Ralph and his wonderful wife Ann were the epitome of class, representing the very best of New York and baseball.”

Said Rachel Robinson Wednesday: “Ralph was a true friend and I loved him. He and Ann were among our dearest Dodger family friends. He was a man of integrity and humility and we felt his sincerity. I will treasure my warm memories of our times together. I was very saddened to receive this news.”

Boo Ferriss, 94; helped lead Sox to 1946 pennant

By Mark Feeney Globe Staff November 24, 2016

Dave “Boo” Ferriss, the Red Sox righthander who as staff ace helped pitch the team to the American League pennant in 1946, then saw his career cut short by a shoulder injury, died Thursday at his home in Cleveland, Miss. He was 94.

Mr. Ferriss, who was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2002, was the classic pitching phenom. He was an All-Star his first two seasons in the majors, compiling a win-loss record of 46-16.

In 1945, Mr. Ferriss began his career with 22? consecutive shutout innings, establishing an American League record that lasted for 63 years. He reached 20 wins in only 30 career appearances, a record held with three other pitchers. He was fourth in voting for AL most valuable player.

In 1946, Mr. Ferriss led the major leagues with an .806 win-loss percentage and pitched a complete-game shutout in the World Series. The Red Sox lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

“I wasn’t a power pitcher,” Mr. Ferriss said to David Halberstam in a 2002 interview for his book “The Teammates.” “My best pitch was the sinker that bore in on right-handed hitters and away from lefties. For me to be successful, my control had to be very good. I wasn’t going to strike out a lot of hitters. If I got four or five strikeouts a game that was a good game.”

Mr. Ferriss’s 13-0 start at Fenway Park in 1946 was matched this year by Rick Porcello.

It was assumed Mr. Ferriss would be the cornerstone of a standout Red Sox pitching staff for many years. Mr. Ferriss, along with his fellow pitchers Tex Hughson and Mickey Harris, turned out to be one of the great might-have-beens in a Red Sox history full of them. In 1947, they all developed arm trouble. Mr. Ferriss’s would dog him the rest of his abbreviated career.

“The first two years I pitched over 500 innings,” Mr. Ferriss noted in a 1999 Globe interview, speculating as to the cause of his arm trouble.

Pitching against the Cleveland Indians in 1947, he felt a burning sensation in his right shoulder. “I won that game, 1-0,” he recalled in a 2002 interview with “I was never the same after that.”

In all likelihood, Mr. Ferriss had suffered an injury to his rotator cuff. He had one more moment of pitching glory for the Red Sox. He came in from the bullpen in the last game of the 1948 season with the bases loaded against the Yankees. He retired Hank Bauer and Joe DiMaggio to preserve a Red Sox victory that put them in a tie with the Indians for first place in the AL. Cleveland beat the Red Sox in a one-game playoff.

Mr. Ferriss posted a 12-11 won-lost record in 1947, and 7-3 the next year. He made just four appearances in 1949 and only one in 1950. He pitched for Louisville, the Red Sox’s Triple-A affiliate, until 1954. He became Red Sox pitching coach in 1955, a post he held for the next five seasons.

Mr. Ferriss compiled a career record of 65-30 and an earned run average of 3.74.

“I’m sorry my arm injury came along,” he said in that interview, “but that’s baseball. There was nothing I could do about that.”

David Meadow Ferriss was born on Dec. 5, 1921, in Shaw, Miss. His father, William D. Ferriss, was a cotton farmer, and his mother, Lellie (Meadow) Ferriss, a postal worker. Mr. Ferriss received his nickname because as a toddler that’s how he pronounced “brother.” So universal was the use of the name that Mr. Ferriss later had himself listed as “Boo” in the Cleveland, Miss., telephone directory.

“I was always crazy about baseball,” Mr. Ferriss said in a 1945 Globe interview. “I can remember being bawled out for wearing my baseball cap to Sunday school.”

At 15, his high school coach switched him from middle infielder to pitcher. He never lost his ability at the plate, though. The Red Sox used Mr. Ferriss as a pinch hitter 41 times, and he had a very respectable career batting average of .250.

Mr. Ferriss was the first baseball player to receive a full athletic scholarship at Mississippi State University. He was later inducted into the school’s hall of fame and had his number there retired.

Mr. Ferriss enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1942, rising to the rank of corporal. He received a medical discharge in 1945 because of severe asthma. After joining the Red Sox, his asthma would occasionally affect his pitching.

His wife, Miriam, fondly remembered the Boston area — and particularly their neighborhood in Needham — in a phone interview Thursday.

“The friends we made in Boston was one of the things we loved the most,” she said. “We just loved Boston. Our children did, too.’’

A country boy whose strongest expletive was “Shuck-uns,” Mr. Ferriss returned to Mississippi after his five seasons as Red Sox pitching coach. He became athletic director and baseball coach at Delta State University. He also spent 1½ years as assistant athletic director at Mississippi State. During his 26 seasons coaching at Delta State, Mr. Ferriss’s teams compiled a record of 639-387 and went to the NCAA Division II College World Series three times. Mr. Ferriss retired in 1988. That year, Delta State named its baseball field in his honor.

“Everyone claims him,’’ said Joe Dier, a former official with Mississippi State, according to the Clarion-Ledger. “Delta State claims him. Mississippi State claims him. Mississippi claims him. The Boston Red Sox claims him. And everybody has their idea of what the best is. And he kind of fits it for everybody.’’

Mr. Ferriss coached several players who went on to the big leagues. But his most auspicious bit of coaching contributed to the best-seller list rather than baseball. A junior college transfer named John Grisham had trouble hitting curveballs. As Grisham later recalled it, Mr. Ferriss “told me I should apply myself to books.”

In addition to his wife, Miriam, of Cleveland, Miss., Mr. Ferriss leaves a son, David Jr. of Brentwood, Tenn.; a daughter, Margaret, of Madison, Miss.; two grandchildren; and three great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Cleveland at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Russ Nixon
1935 - 2016

The Las Vegas Review-Journal
November 11, 2016

Russ Nixon, 81, a former Major League Baseball player, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in Las Vegas. A baseball veteran for 56 years, Russ was a major-league player for 12 seasons and a scout, coach and manager for 44 more at virtually every level of the sport.

Russ was born Feb. 19, 1935, in Cleves, Ohio, along with his twin brother, Roy. It was his grandfather's love of baseball that started him on the path to professional baseball. Russ graduated from Western Hills High School in Cincinnati and signed with the Cleveland Indians shortly thereafter in 1953. He played 12 seasons as a catcher in the American League with the Indians, Red Sox and Twins.

His coaching and managing career began in Cincinnati Red's farm system in 1970 and was the third base coach for the "Big Red Machine" in the 1976 World Series. He managed the Cincinnati Reds in 1982 and 1983 and later managed the Atlanta Braves from 1988 to 1990. He spent the remainder of his career doing what he loved, developing young players with the San Diego Padres, Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers organizations. He retired from baseball in 2009. He has the distinction of being active in Major League Baseball for 56 consecutive years in various roles.

Russ married Glenda (nee Carder) July 1, 1954 and they were married 62 years. Russ is preceded in death by his granddaughter, Lindsey Nixon. Russ is survived by his wife Glenda; daughters, Rebel Dahlberg (Mark), Misty Steinhauer (Mark) and Samantha Linares (Mike); son, Chris Nixon (Gloria); grandchildren, Chantal, Abby, Kaylin, Culver, Clare, Ava and Lana; four great-grandchildren; identical twin brother, Roy Nixon (Arlene); nieces, Lori, Julie and Vicky; nephews, Kirk and Keith; and many other relatives. Services will be private.

James "Marlan" Coughtry
September 11, 1934 ~ November 8, 2016

Published in The Columbian on Nov. 27, 2016

"Marlan was a great Husband, Father, Grandfather, and Friend. He will be greatly missed."

James "Marlan" Coughtry was born Sept. 11th, 1934 in Hollywood, CA. He went to heaven Nov. 8th, 2016 in Vancouver, WA peacefully in his sleep at 82 years old.
Marlan's younger years were filled with baseball and the Chipmunks car club, with him being President. He played ball for the Boston Red Sox, California Angles and Cleveland Indians to name a few.

Marlan had many hobbies, he was always busy. There was never anything he put his mind to that he didn't accomplish. He was a active member of Vancouver First Friends Church until his passing.

Marlan is survived by 3 children, Kathy (Paul) Keeler, Jon (Karla) Coughtry and Kevin (Evelyn) Coughtry; 2 step-children, Paul Reed and Angela Shaw; 7 grandchildren; and 3 step-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by 2 wives, Joanna and Sylvia.

A memorial service will be held at Vancouver First Friends Church on Sat., Dec. 3rd at 2p.m.

In lieu of flowers, make donations to Vancouver First Friends Twin Rocks Scholarships in Marlan's memory.

Former major leaguer Eddie 'Lefty' Carnett dies at 100

The Sporting News
November 4, 2016 7:58pm EDT

Two weeks after turning 100, the oldest living major league player has died.

Eddie "Lefty" Carnett died in Ringling, Okla., with his family surrounding him, the Mariners announced.

MORE: Notable sports deaths of 2016

Carnett played for the Braves, White Sox and Indians from 1941 to 1945. He also played for the Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League, among many other minor league clubs. He was an outfielder, first baseman and pitcher. He was also a player-manager for six seasons in the minor leagues.

At 95, Carnett threw out the first pitch at Safeco Field in 2012 as the Mariners wore Rainiers jerseys during "Turn Back the Clock" night.

Robert "Bob" Addis
1925 - 2016

Published in The on Nov. 17, 2016

Robert "Bob" Addis passed away on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at the age of 91. He was born on November 6, 1925 in Mineral, Ohio.
Bob served in the Marine Corps during WWII and then went on to play professional baseball for ten years. He earned his Masters in Education from Kent State University followed by a 34 year career at Euclid High School as a teacher, baseball coach and Athletic Director. He was a longtime member of the Euclid Rotary Club and an avid golfer.

Bob is survived by his two daughters, Suzanne Baiz (Mark) and Jane; grandchildren, Robert and Sarah and great-granddaughter, Blake.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Marjorie; his parents, Lewis and Sylvia and brother, Emmett.

The family will receive friends 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, November 18, 2016 at Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home & Cremation Center 8466 Mentor Ave., Mentor, Ohio 44060.
The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, November 19, 2016 at St. Hubert's Episcopal Church, 8870 Baldwin Rd, Kirtland Hills, Ohio 44060.

Interment service will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Greenlawn Cemetery, 2582 Romig Road, Akron, Ohio 44320.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Euclid High School Sports Hall of Fame c/o Alumni Office, 711 East 222nd St. Euclid, Ohio 44123.

Mark S. Johnson

Honolulu Star-Advertiser
November 10th, 2016

Mark S. Johnson, 65, of Kailua, Oahu died October 26, 2016. He was born in Louisville, KY.

Mark spent 20 years as a Major League umpire. He officiated 2 All-Star games (Wrigley Field, Fenway Park), multiple playoff games, and the 1993 World Series before retiring to his home in Mt. Washington, KY.

He liked to golf, fish, hunt and spend time with friends, old and new; but he loved Kentucky basketball. His dream was to move to Hawaii in his retirement, which he did in 2011.

He is survived by his wife Lilia; son, Kyle; and Old English Mastiff, "Baby". A Celebration of Life service will be held at Murphy's (2 Merchant St., Honolulu) on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016 at 1 pm. Casual attire requested, UK Blue, preferred.

Arrangements Provided By: Nuuanu Memorial Park & Mortuary, LLC

John Orsino, who spent 7 seasons in majors, dies at 78

By The Associated Press
November 3, 2016

John Orsino, one of the San Francisco players who hit a record-tying five home runs in a 12-run ninth inning in a 1961 game at Cincinnati, has died. He was 78.

Orsino died Tuesday at Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, following a lengthy illness, according to his wife, Honey.

A catcher and first baseman who was born in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Orsino spent seven seasons in the major leagues with the Giants (1961-62), Baltimore (1963-65) and Washington (1966-67), hitting .249 with 40 home runs and 123 RBIs.

His best season was 1963, when he homered in his first five spring training games with the Orioles and went on to bat .272 with 19 home runs and 56 RBIs.

Orsino was part of the home run barrage by the Giants in a 14-0 win at Cincinnati's Crosley Field on Aug. 23, 1961. Orlando Cepeda and Felipe Alou hit consecutive home runs, Jim Davenport had an inside-the-park homer, Willie Mays went deep and Orsino capped the burst with a three-run homer.

Orsino was the baseball coach at Fairleigh Dickinson from 1970-76 and in 1980, leading the team to a 125-120-2 record, and later became the golf pro at Emerson Country Club in Emerson, New Jersey, and the Indian Spring Country Club in Boynton Beach, Florida. He was men's golf coach at Florida Atlantic from October 2004 to November 2006.

He is survived by his wife and two children from an earlier marriage, a daughter, Jeryl, and a son, Jay. A funeral is scheduled for Saturday at Landmark Funeral Home in Hollywood, Florida.

Island's former major league baseball player dies

By Jason Malloy
The Guardian
Published on November 2, 2016

Friends and family are mourning the death of the only Prince Edward Island native to play Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era.

James Vernon (Vern) Handrahan died Wednesday. The Charlottetown native was 79.

His former P.E.I. teammates painted a picture Wednesday of a devoted family man with no bad habits, who was always willing to give back to others while deflecting any recognition.

“Vern was a very humble person, never sought any attention,” said friend Bobby Lund.

“He’s going to be sorely missed,” he added of his former teammate. “He was so good with everybody and a real role model.”

Handrahan started playing baseball when he was 15 years old. He was a good all-around athlete, but it was on the mound he excelled.

“He never saw himself as being the centrepiece of the team,” Don Leclair said. “He was a terrific all-around ball player. He wasn't just a pitcher.”

Leclair was catching the day the coach called Handrahan in from the outfield to make his pitching debut. The right-handed hurler, Leclair said, was exceptionally fast.

“He had a fantastic arm and he rode that arm all the way to 12 years of professional baseball,” Lund said.

It included stops with minor league teams in New York, Wisconsin, Idaho and Orgeon.

Six years after picking up the sport, Handrahan caught the attention of a pro scout while playing for the Stellarton Albions in Nova Scotia. In 1959, he signed with the Milwaukee Braves.

He played two seasons with the Kansas City Athletics in the MLB. He amassed a 0-2 record with a 5.31 earned-run average in 34 games. He also had two hits as a batter.

From Memorial Field to Yankee Stadium, Handrahan made it the top level of baseball during a time when there were no YouTube videos of players or information on prospects readily available as it is today. It was before the Montreal Expos or Toronto Blue Jays were born.

“A Canadian, let alone an Islander, to make it up through those ranks was unbelievable,” said Fred (Fiddler) MacDonald, a sports columnist with The Guardian and a batboy for Charlottetown teams in the 1950s that Handrahan played for. “A first-class gentleman who never said anything bad about anybody.”

Leclair played ball with Handrahan after his professional career. Pitching against the likes of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle hadn’t changed Handrahan.

Leclair remembers a fan getting on him once during an oldtimers game in Stellarton, saying how Handrahan wasn’t that good.

“He threw two or three pitches that I think illustrated to them that he certainly was capable of playing professional baseball,” Leclair said. “But he was the type of guy that wasn't out there to exhibit how good he was, rather he was thinking of the poor guy who was up at-bat and giving him the opportunity to make contact.”

Lund said he referenced Handrahan while coaching kids.

“I'd always say, ‘Don't give up if you have a dream because here’s a fella who had a dream and at the age of 21 it came to fruition,’ so to speak,” he said.

Handrahan was the first inductee into the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame in 1968.

Joseph Kirrene Jr.
1931 - 2016

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Nov. 6, 2016

Joe was born Oct. 4, 1931, and passed from our world Oct. 19, 2016. He was at home at peace with his family. He was the son of Joseph John Kirrene, Sr., and Florence Agnes Kirrene, and is survived by his wife of 63 years, Grace Anne Johnson Kirrene; son Michael Kirrene (Virginia); grandchildren Stephen Kirrene, Carolyn Kirrene Breaud (Scott); and two great grandchildren. Joe is also survived by his brothers, Jerry (Rosemary), Bob (Julie), and Tom Kirrene (Linda);sister-in-law Georganna Niver, and many nieces and nephews.

Joe was born in San Francisco; his family moved to Sacramento in 1940. He was a graduate of Christian Brothers High School, and was signed to a Chicago White Sox baseball contract in 1949. He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard during the Korean War, and was honorably discharged in 1954. He played baseball with the San Francisco Seals, and Oakland Oaks before going to the Chicago White Sox.

In later years Joe worked for the California State Auto Assn., and was the manager of offices in Yreka, Walnut Creek, Petaluma, Hayward, San Jose, and became a Regional Manager. He was with the CSAA for 41 years, and lived in San Ramon for 44 years. He had many hobbies, loved all sports-- especially playing golf, and watching Giants & A's baseball. Joe had a great sense of humor, and his smile and laugh would light up a room. He will be greatly missed by family and friends.

Military Memorial Services will be held on November 8, 2016, 1PM, at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, in Dixon, Ca. A reception for family and friends will be at Bud's Restaurant on S. 1st St., Dixon. Family requests that any donations be made to Hospice, or a charity of their choice.

Jose Fernandez dies in boating accident
play Sep 26, 2016

Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Florida early Sunday morning.

Spokesman Lorenzo Veloz of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a news conference Sunday that Fernandez, 24, was one of three men killed in the accident.

The Coast Guard arrived on the scene around 3 a.m. to find a 32-foot boat upside down on a jetty off Miami Beach. Two of the victims were found dead under the vessel. One was found dead in the water. None of the deceased was wearing a life vest.

Fernandez died from trauma -- not drowning, Veloz said.

The names of the other two individuals initially were withheld pending notification of relatives, the Coast Guard said. On Monday, the Miami-Dade medical examiner confirmed to ESPN that the names of the others were Emilio Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25.

No further details could be provided on their connection to Fernandez because the case remains under investigation. However, the next of kin have been notified, the spokesperson said.

Speed is suspected to be a factor in the accident because of the impact with the jetty, Veloz said. There was no evidence of alcohol or illegal drug use.

"It does appear that speed was involved due to the impact and the severity of it,'' Veloz said. "It does appear to be that they were coming at full speed when they encountered the jetty and the accident happened.''

Veloz said Sunday the boat was owned by a friend of Fernandez's, but on Monday the FWC said in a statement that the registered owner of the vessel was Fernandez.

The Marlins announced that Sunday's game at home against the Atlanta Braves was canceled. A 16 -- Fernandez's uniform number -- was painted on the mound at Marlins Park on Sunday morning, and flowers rested on the rubber. Major League Baseball announced that there would be a league-wide moment of silence before each of Sunday's games.

"Sadly, the brightest lights are often the ones that extinguish the fastest,'' Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said in a statement. "Jose left us far too soon, but his memory will endure in all of us. At this difficult time, our prayers are with his mother, grandmother, family and friends.''

Marlins president David Samson said in a news conference that Monday's game against the New York Mets will be played as scheduled. He said Fernandez will be a member of the Marlins "all time."

"The way he played this game, the way he was on the field, that's a way how these guys can honor him," Samson said.

Manager Don Mattingly and some Marlins players broke down during Sunday's news conference. Mattingly said Fernandez played with the "joy" of a "little boy."

Following the news conference, buses took Marlins players and executives to Fernandez's mother's home so they could offer her support and condolences.

Slugger Giancarlo Stanton didn't speak but later posted a tribute on Instagram.

"That smile I'm not going to see anymore. That personality and that love of the game, the love of everything, really. He was so accessible too," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said at Marlins Park after Sunday's game was canceled. "The Marlins were done with batting practice [Saturday], but he was still out here talking to everybody and having a great time."

The Tampa Bay Rays canceled a scheduled pregame ceremony to recognize retiring Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, per his wishes, after Sunday's tragedy. Ortiz was seen in tears during the moment of silence before Sunday's game in Tampa, Florida.

"I don't have the words to describe the pain I feel,'' Ortiz said.

The Miami Dolphins held a moment of silence for Fernandez before their game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Fernandez announced on Instagram last week that his girlfriend is pregnant. The Marlins announced during Sunday's news conference that the baby is a girl.

"All of Baseball is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández," Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "He was one of our game's great young stars who made a dramatic impact on and off the field since his debut in 2013. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, the Miami Marlins organization and all of the people he touched in his life."

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark also released a statement Sunday morning: "We are devastated by the news that Jose Fernandez has tragically passed. Jose was a remarkable young man and a tremendously gifted athlete, who at just 24, established himself as one of the game's biggest and brightest stars. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jose's family, friends, teammates, Miami Marlins organization and legions of fans in the United States and Latin America."

Fernandez's next start had been pushed from Sunday to Monday to make room for Adam Conley's return from the disabled list.

Fernandez immigrated to the United States from Cuba in 2008, after three failed defection attempts, and settled in Tampa, Florida. He became a United States citizen last year. He was a 2011 first-round pick, taken 14th overall by the Marlins, out of Tampa's Alonso High School.

At Citi Field in New York, fellow Cuban Yoenis Cespedes and the Mets hung a team jersey with Fernandez's name and No. 16 on the back in the dugout. Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, who is also Cuban, hung a Dodgers jersey with Fernandez's name and No. 16 in Los Angeles' dugout.

Chicago Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler played with Fernandez when the two were growing up in Cuba. They traveled together to Venezuela for a youth tournament, and Soler said Fernandez's ability was obvious, right from the start.

"Since he was a child, since we were kids, I knew he had something," Soler said through a translator. "He had a talent. It was very impressive."

Fernandez was 16-8 with a 2.86 ERA this season, earning his second appearance in the All-Star Game. Fernandez, who was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 2013, was 38-17 with a 2.58 ERA in 76 career starts for the Marlins.

Third baseman Martin Prado said Sunday that Fernandez told one of his Marlins teammates that his last start against the Washington Nationals "was his best ever, and now he's gone." In that start, Fernandez pitched eight innings and struck out 12 as he allowed just three hits in a 1-0 Marlins victory.

Fernandez joins a long list of active baseball players to die in accidents. Cleveland Indians pitchers Tim Crews, 31, and Steve Olin, 27, were killed in a boating accident in Clermont, Florida, on March 22, 1993. Indians pitcher Bobby Ojeda was also on the boat and lost four pints of blood, but he survived.

ESPN staff writer James Walker and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Donald A. Minnick
April 14, 1931 - September 02, 2016

The Roanoak Times
September 4th, 2016

Donald A. Minnick, 85, passed away Friday, September 2, 2016, surrounded by his family, after a brief illness. He was born on April 14, 1931, in Lynchburg, to the late Mamie and Henry Minnick. He was also preceded in death by his daughter, Dona Minnick.

Don was a longtime Franklin County resident, a loving family man, and a fair and honest local business owner for over 40 years.Don attended Duke University for 2½ years before being drafted to the Korean war.

After serving his country for two years, Don returned to his professional baseball pitching career of 10 years. "His claim to fame" in the major leagues was walking Ted Williams. Meanwhile, in the minor leagues, his record of 20 wins as a pitcher in Redding, Pa., still stands today.

After retiring from baseball, he and his devoted wife moved to Rocky Mount, where he began his trucking career. Don was also an avid sportsman, rooting for the Atlanta Braves, and the Washington Redskins and participating in bowling leagues for over 40 years.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 57 years, Helen W. Minnick; daughters, Lubeth Jones (Rob) of Roanoke and Michelle Obenshain (Jon) of Moneta; numerous cousins and two special friends, Charles Dudley and Danny Houston.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, September 6, 2016, at Flora Funeral Services in Rocky Mount, with Pastor Matt Ricks officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers or food, the family requests that memorials be made to the Franklin County Rescue Squad.

Arrangements by Flora Funeral Service and Cremation Center, Rocky Mount.

Joseph Paul DeMaestri Sr.
1928 - 2016

Published in Marin Independent Journal from Aug. 31 to Sept. 25, 2016

Joseph Paul DeMaestri Sr. Born December 9, 1928, passed away peacefully from natural causes on August 26, 2016 in San Rafael. Born in San Francisco, Joe's parents moved to Marin County where Joe attended and graduated from Tamalpais High School.Joe was a standout baseball player at Tam and went on to play shortstop in the major leagues for the Chicago White Sox (1951), St. Louis Browns (1952), Philadelphia and Kansas City Athletics (1953-1959) and New York Yankees (1960-1961). He had a front row seat to watch Maris and Mantle chase Babe Ruth's home run record in 1961. In an 11-season career,

Joe was a .236 hitter with 49 home runs and 281 RBI in 1,121 games played. He was a member of the American League All-Star team in 1957 and was a member of the World Champion New York Yankees in 1961.

Joe retired from baseball after the '61 season and began working at DeMaestri Distributing Company with his father, Silvio DeMaestri, in 1962. Joe sold the business in 1991. Joe was an avid golfer and member of the Marin Country Club in Novato where the family lived since 1960.

Joe was respected by all and held in the highest esteem by those who worked with him or enjoyed his company socially. Joe was happily married to Margot (nee Jehly) for 56 years until her death in 2007 and preceeded in death by his parents, Silvio and Lillian DeMaestri.

Joe is survived by his devoted children, Christine Lea (Preston), Joe DeMaestri Jr (Julie), and Donna Peltz (Matthew). Joe was adored by his grandchildren Cassandra Dyke, Mandy Selwyn, Margot Lea, Joelle Lea, Lindsey Patrick, Carl Patrick, Jay DeMaestri (Joseph Paul III) and Russell DeMaestri. Joe also leaves six great grandchildren and cousin, Eddie DeMaestri of Fairfax, CA.

Friends are invited to a Memorial Service on Wednesday, September 28 at 11:00am at Keaton's Mortuary, 1022 E St., San Rafael with a celebration of life immediately following at San Rafael Joe's, 931 Fourth St., San Rafael.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Marin Humane Society, 171 Bel Marin Keys Blvd, Novato, CA 94949.

Farewell, Charlie

John Mehno
The Altoona Mirror
August 31, 2016

The Pirates will have a reunion of their 1971 World Series team this weekend, and the most obscure player won't be there.

Charlie Sands, the third-string catcher, died on Aug. 22 in Naples, FL at 68.

Sands was with the Pirates throughout the 1971 season, but got into only 28 games. Most of those were pinch hitting appearances. He started two games and caught part of one other.

He didn't get into a game until May 9, the team's 29th game, and he didn't appear in one after Aug. 31.

Sands got off to a good start, hitting .333 (4-for-12) in the first half of the season with a double, home run and five runs batted in. But he was 1-for-13 in the second half (.077) and wound up with a .200 average for the season.

He was stuck behind Manny Sanguillen and Milt May, so he spent most of the year warming up pitchers in the bullpen. His Pirates career ended with one major league at bat in 1972.

Sands played briefly for the California Angels in later years, and finished with a brief stay with the Oakland A's in 1975. His first major league action had come in 1967, when he played briefly for the Yankees at age 19.

He batted once in the 1971 World Series and struck out. Sands was from Virginia and spoke with a drawl, which earned him the nickname "Muncle." Why? Because he told a teammate, "M'uncle owns a Cadillac dealership in Newport News."

Championship teams always have plenty of stars, and the Pirates did. But there are always some obscure players, too, like Charles Duane Sands.

One fun fact from his major league career: He hit six home runs. Half of them were against Hall of Fame pitchers -- Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers and Fergie Jenkins.

Neil John Berry

Published in Kalamazoo Gazette on August 28, 2016

Neil John Berry passed away peacefully on Wednesday evening, August 24, 2016 at Bronson Hospital. He was born on January 11, 1922 in Kalamazoo, Michigan and remained a lifelong resident of Kalamazoo until his passing.

Neil met his wife of 67 years, Gloria Lorentzen, in Kindergarten. In 1944, they were married in Midland Texas, where Neil was stationed, eventually to return to Kalamazoo where they raised their family.

Neil was an outstanding athlete and was the top prep athlete in Kalamazoo in the late 30's. He played 3 years of varsity football at Kalamazoo Central leading his team to an undefeated season and the State High School Football championship in 1938. That same year, he was selected as the state's best player and captain of the all-state team.

Neil also played on Kalamazoo Central's state championship basketball team in 1937. He played American Legion baseball and was managed in 1936 and 37 by Doctor Homer Stryker. In 1939, Neil was the recipient of the Ki Ki Cuyler award for the most valuable player in the Michigan American Legion State Tournament.

Neil played in many local leagues but American Legion is where he caught the eye of Detroit Tiger scout, Wish Egan, who would eventually sign him after Neil attended Western State Teacher's College (today WMU) in 1941. Neil also started on the freshmen football and baseball teams at Western. He turned down a bonus offer by the St. Louis Cardinals to sign with the Detroit Tigers in 1942 as an amateur free agent. He spent the 1942 season with the Winston-Salem Twins of the Piedmont League.

Neil spent the next three years, 1943-45, in the United States Army Air Forces serving during WW II. Sargent Berry received an Honorable Discharge in 1946. He spent 1946-47 with the Buffalo Bisons of the International Baseball League. Neil spent the next 5 years with the Detroit Tigers, where he played second base, shortstop, and third base. He finished his major league career with the White Sox and St. Louis Browns in 1953 and the Baltimore Orioles in 1954. Later in 1958, Neil managed the Montgomery Rebels of the Alabama/Florida League for the Detroit organization.

He later retired from baseball, returning to Kalamazoo. Since then, he has been in the sporting goods business, then working installing gymnasium floors in high schools and colleges. Before his retirement from the carpenter's union, he worked in a government job for Kalamazoo County.

After baseball Neil became an avid golfer, joining his wife and friends visiting many courses throughout the area.

Neil is survived by his two children: Neil "Skip" Berry and Linda Spann of Kalamazoo; 2 grandchildren: Sarah (Ryan) Milley of Kalamazoo, and Elizabeth (David) Stoltz of Pittsburgh, PA; and 7 nieces and nephews.

Preceding him in death were his wife of 67 years: Gloria Berry; brother: Gordon Berry; sister: Marilyn Brown; brother-in law: Don Brown; sister: Joyce Dombos; and brother-in-law: Dick Dombos.

Visitation will be from 6-8 PM on Monday, Aug. 29, at Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Westside Chapel, 3926 S. 9th Street.

A service to celebrate Neil's life will be held at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, Aug. 30, at the funeral home.

Rev. Caroline K. Meyers will officiate. Interment will follow in Mt. Ever-Rest Memorial Park.

Stephen J. Korcheck, former MCC president and baseball player, dies

Dr. Stephen J. Korcheck was president at Manatee Community College — now the State College of Florida — from 1980 to 1997 and played professional baseball with the Washington Senators.

By Amaris Castillo
August 28, 2016 7:47 PM

Dr. Stephen J. Korcheck, former president of the then-called Manatee Community College, died Friday. He was 84.

Born Aug. 11, 1932, Korcheck was a professional baseball player with the Washington Senators and also became the third president of MCC, which is now the State College of Florida. According to the SCF website, Korcheck came to MCC as a part-time instructor of health and physical education. He served as chair of that department and went on to hold positions as dean of instruction and dean of academic affairs prior to becoming president.

According to Korcheck’s daughter, Stephanie Korcheck, the former athlete died of heart failure. Korcheck had a myriad of health issues that kept him away from his Bradenton home over the last year, she said.

“But he was determined to come back and his incredible strength and determination won over and he literally, physically walked through the door,” she said of her father’s return to his house.

Stephanie said her family held a belated birthday celebration for her father, complete with some of his favorite foods: barbecue ribs, corn on the cob, potato casserole, and some wine. The gathering, she said, was perfect.

“He was the president of the community college for 17 years. He was a professional athlete, a baseball coach, he worked at the college in different roles,” Stephanie said. “I always knew that he had a tremendous impact, of course, on the community.

“I’m just more and more hearing stories from people who literally had their lives changed because of him and almost always it starts with ‘I went to see your dad and he made a phone call.’ What the phone call was was different for each person. They all say ‘that phone call put my life on a completely different path.’ That’s the power of his life and he did that for the guys that he coached, he did that for students, he did that for the faculty and staff at the college. He knew every single employees’ name at that college.”

It’s who he was as a man, she said.

Korcheck earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he also served as head baseball coach for three years, according to a gallery of past MCC presidents. In 1975, he was elected into the university’s Letterman Hall of Fame and received a Distinguished Alumni Award nearly two decades later in 1993.

As a student at Cumberland Township High School in Carmichaels, Penn., Korcheck was an award-winning athlete and, in college, was named in the 1954 edition of Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.

In addition to being a past president of Manatee Community College, Korcheck was also a past president of the Florida Community Colleges Activities Association and past chairman of the Presidents’ Council, according to SCF. A committed public servant, he is a past chairman of the United Way of Manatee County; past capital campaign general chair of the Easter Seal Society of Southwest Florida; and served as a member of the Workforce Development Planning Board.

Bryan Richard Clutterbuck

Published in the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News and other local publications on Sept. 1, 2016

Bryan Richard Clutterbuck, a resident of Highland Township, died on August 23, 2016 at the age of 56 after being diagnosed with colon cancer in April.

Bryan was a graduate of Milford High School and attended Eastern Michigan University where he starred on the baseball teams. In 1981 he was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers with whom he pitched for many years in the minor leagues and reached the Majors in 1986.

One of Bryan's passions in life was fishing and opportunities to spend time in northern Michigan.

He is survived by his son, Michael Clutterbuck and his mother, Debra Avery; his sister, Jennifer Clutterbuck; his girlfriend, Cindi Sans, and many extended family members and dear friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Richard and Madeline Clutterbuck, and a sister, Patrice Ann Clutterbuck.

A Memorial Service will be held at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 404 E. Liberty St., Milford, on Saturday, September 3, at 1 p.m.. Friends may gather from 12 Noon until the time of service.

Memorials may be made in his name to the Huron Valley Youth Baseball & Softball League, PO Box 67, Highland, MI 48357.

For further information please phone 248-684-6645.

Former Dominican baseball player Juan Bell dies at age 48

Enrique Rojas
ESPN Deportes
Aug 24, 2016

Former Dominican baseball player Juan "Tito" Bell, who played for seven years with five different teams in the majors, died Wednesday morning, according to informed their families and the Dominican Federation of Professional Baseball Players. He was 48 years old.

Bell was signed by the Dodgers in 1984, but reached the majors with the Orioles in 1989.

The former slugger and MVP of the American League, George Bell, said his brother died of kidney complications at a hospital in Santo Domingo, capital of Dominican Republic. He will be buried Thursday in his native San Pedro de Macoris, east of Santo Domingo.

"Tito" Bell was signed by the Dodgers in 1984, but reached the major leagues with the Baltimore Orioles in 1989. He also played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox. He batted .212 in 836 innings and only twice exceeded 100 games in a season.

In the Dominican winter league he played with Toros del Este, Tigres del Licey, Estrellas Orientales and Gigantes del Cibao.

"That he rest in peace my'roomie' Tito Bell. My condolences to family and friends because friends all like you were few. Rests" he wrote in his Twitter account former pitcher Pedro Martinez, who was a teammate of Bell since were two rookies looking for the dream of reaching the majors with the Dodger.

Ohio State baseball | Pitching great Steve Arlin dies at 70

By Todd Jones
The Columbus Dispatch
Friday August 19, 2016 11:31 PM

Fifty years after Ohio State won its only national championship in baseball, that legendary team has lost its most notable player.

Steve Arlin, long considered OSU’s greatest pitcher and a native of Lima, died of undisclosed causes on Wednesday at age 70, the university announced Friday.

Arlin, who lived in San Diego, led the Buckeyes to their lone national title in 1966 — the last won by a Big Ten baseball team. An illness reportedly kept him from attending a reunion of that championship team in June at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

“It’s obviously sad that we lose a guy of Steve’s stature and what he meant to our program,” current Ohio State coach Greg Beals said. “It’s also critical to celebrate his life and his successes and what he meant to our program as well.”

Arlin meant everything to the 1966 national champions, as well as the ’65 team that finished national runner-up. He went 24-3 — for a .889 winning percentage that is still a school record — those two seasons to become the Buckeyes’ first two-time All-American.

“He was something else,” Curt Heinfeld, a pitcher on the ’66 OSU team, told the Associated Press in June. “We didn't even have radar guns back then, so no one knew how hard anyone threw. We're guessing he was somewhere around the 100-mph mark. His fastball even moved all over.”

Arlin, a 6-foot-3 right-hander, was at his best in the College World Series, where he was twice named to the all-tournament team, with totaling 57 strikeouts and a 0.96 ERA in 47 innings.

“The numbers that he put up are like video game numbers,” Beals said.

The Philadelphia Phillies selected Arlin 13th overall in the 1966 major league draft. He pitched six seasons in the majors, nearly all for the San Diego Padres, before his career ended in 1974 after a brief stint with the Cleveland Indians.

Ohio State retired Arlin’s No. 22 jersey in 2004, and four years later he was elected into the College Baseball Hall of Fame.

Choo Choo Coleman, member of original Mets, dies at 80

The Associated Press
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Clarence "Choo-Choo" Coleman, a catcher on the expansion 1962 Mets who spent four seasons in the major leagues with New York and the Philadelphia Phillies, died Monday at age 80.

Coleman, who had been suffering from cancer, died at the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg, South Carolina, according to a niece, Linda Hibbler. Coleman had lived for more than two decades in nearby Bamberg.

Hibbler said he was born on Aug. 18, 1935. listed his date of birth as Aug 25, 1937.

Coleman said he was given his nickname was when he was young.

"When I was 8 or 9, I ran around a lot," he told The New York Times in 2012. "My friends called me Choo-Choo because I was fast."

Coleman played with the Indianapolis Clowns in the Negro American League and signed with the original Washington Senators. He was released and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was selected by Philadelphia at the 1960 winter meetings draft and hit .128 in 47 at-bats over 34 games with the Phillies.The Mets took him in that expansion draft.

He batted .250 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 55 games for the '62 Mets, who went 40-120, the second-most losses in major league history behind only the 1899 Cleveland Spiders (20-134). Coleman also played for the Mets in 1963 and 1966, finishing with a .197 career average, nine homers and 30 RBIs in 462 at-bats over 201 games.

After his baseball career, he owned and operated a restaurant in Newport News, Virginia, before retiring to Bamberg.

He is survived by his third wife, Lucille; a son, Clarence Coleman Jr.; and a daughter, Elnora Vanessa Swint, according to Hibbler. A funeral is scheduled for Saturday at Greater Sidney Park Baptist Church in Bamberg.

Alan H. Brice
Oct. 1, 1937 - Jul. 30, 2016

Published in Herald Tribune on August 5, 2016

Alan H. Brice, 78 of Bradenton, Florida, peacefully passed away on July 30, 2016. He was born in New York City, New York on October 1, 1937 to Elizabeth and Alexander Brice. He moved to Tampa, FL at the age of 9.

He graduated from Hillsborough High School in 1953 and was signed on as a Major League pitcher for the Cardinals then Chicago White Sox. Alan was a member in good standing of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. Alan was employed with the Public Defenders' Office as the Chief Investigator for the 12th Judicial Circuit which includes Manatee, Sarasota, and Desoto Counties.

In 2003, he retired after 38 years. He was the owner of Brice Detective Agency for over 30 years. He was a devout Christian and attended Harvest United Methodist Church.

Alan is survived by his devoted wife of 35 years, Kathy Brice. Alan is also survived by his brother, Tom Brice (Julie), and sister Betty Newman, nephews Tommy Brice II., and Brice Newman, niece Callie Erikson (Stuart). He is also survived by his children: Teresa L. Brice, Joseph A. Brice (Martha), Kenneth K. Brice (KeKe) and stepson Gregory S. Hatcher. Grandchildren: Clark A. Brice, Spencer A. Brice, Sasha N. Brice. Also his great nieces and nephews, Ella Erikson, Brooke Erikson, Audrey Brice, Kate Brice, Tommy Brice III., Graham Erikson, and his beloved Pom Zeus.

Alan will always be remembered for his larger-than-life personality, his caring ways, and his dedicated work ethic. He will be in our hearts forever and will never be forgotten.

Toale Brothers Funeral Home are handling the arrangements. The Celebration of Life service will take place at Harvest United Methodist Church on Saturday, August 6, 2016 at 3:00 PM. Located at 14305 Covenant Way, Lakewood Ranch FL 34202.

Sox pitcher key to '59 pennant dies as modestly as he lived

By Kerry Lester
The Chicago Daily Herald
July 29, 2016 5:03 AM

Decades before Chris Sale was suspended for cutting up throwback jerseys before a scheduled start, the White Sox had another standout pitcher, who led the American League in saves and games finished to help the team clinch the 1959 pennant.

But Omar "Turk" Lown -- who received his nickname as a kid for his love of turkey -- is remembered for his modesty and pragmatism, in both the way he lived and the way he died.

When I called Lown's Pueblo, Colorado, home to ask his perspective on the Sale incident, I found I was weeks too late.

Son Terry told me his dad died July 8 of leukemia, with only a quiet funeral attended by a handful of friends.

Online baseball databases tracking the oldest players have yet to catch on that Lown died. And letters from autograph seekers still arrive at the family home, his children say.

"He didn't want anything but a Mass," Terry Lown said.

Turk Lown, a record-breaking White Sox pitcher key to the team's 1959 pennant, died earlier this month at age 92.

Turk Lown, a record-breaking White Sox pitcher key to the team's 1959 pennant, died earlier this month at age 92. - courtesy of Lown Family

'For the love of it'

Terry Lown was just a small boy when his dad played for the White Sox from 1958 to 1962, capping off his 11 total seasons in the major leagues. Before the Sox, Turk played for the Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds. Terry remembers the little things about that time -- staying at Chicago's old Piccadilly Hotel, racing to the newsstands with a dime each morning to see the latest write-ups and occasionally getting to play on the field in "father-son" games. When Turk Lown retired from professional baseball, he became a letter carrier for the next 23 years. "He never really bragged about baseball," Terry Lown said. "A lot of people have said, 'I didn't know your dad played that long.' They didn't know he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and received the Purple Heart, either."

As to what his dad would have thought of Sale, Terry Lown noted, "back in his day, they played for the love of it, not for the money."

Former Sox infielder Doug Griffin dead at 69

By Peter Abraham
The Boston Globe
July 28, 2016

Anaheim, Calif. — Former Red Sox second baseman Doug Griffin, a Gold Glove winner whose career was cut short after being hit in the head by a pitch from Nolan Ryan, died on Wednesday. He was 69.

Griffin, the team said, died after a long illness in Clovis, Calif.

Known as “Dude,” Griffin was drafted by the California Angels in 1965 and made his major league debut in 1970. He was traded to the Red Sox a few weeks after that season, part of a deal that included the Angels receiving Tony Conigliaro.

Griffin was the Red Sox’ primary second baseman from 1971-73. His defensive prowess was such that Griffin was fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1971 and won a Gold Glove in 1972.

Griffin was an excellent bunter and played second base fearlessly, hanging in for double plays during an era when runners were permitted to bowl over infielders.

Griffin was knocked unconscious on April 30, 1974, when he was hit by a pitch from Ryan during a game at Fenway Park. He was on the disabled list until June 1 with a concussion and hearing loss.

A career .245 hitter, Griffin hit .229 after the beaning with one home run in 660 at-bats.

Griffin was displaced at second base by Denny Doyle in 1975 and became a platoon player. He did not play in the American League Championship Series and pinch hit once in the World Series that year.

Griffin appeared in only 49 games in 1976 and was released in 1977 after playing five games. In all, Griffin played in 614 games for the Sox. In team history, only Bobby Doerr, Dustin Pedroia, Hobe Ferris, Marty Barrett, and Jerry Remy have played more games at second base.

Griffin had a close relationship with Carl Yastrzemski, the two often going fishing during his time with the Red Sox.

Griffin is survived by his wife, Lorraine Bernard; his children, Chad and Natalie; six granddaughters; his 92-year-old mother, Lillian Griffin; and three sisters.

Michael Wayne Strahler

1947 - 2016

Published in Alamogordo Daily News from July 20 to Aug. 19, 2016

Michael Wayne Strahler passed away peacefully on July 14, 2016 at his home in Alamogordo. Michael was born on March 14, 1947, to Richard G. and Mary J. Strahler in Chicago, Ill.

He graduated from McClatchy High School in Sacramento, Calif., after which he served in the Army for a short time before receiving a medical discharge. Mike was always interested in baseball and started a career pitching for the Albuquerque Dukes. In 1966–1967 he pitched for Spartanburg, 1967 Eugene, 1968-1970 Spokane, 1970 Dodgers, 1971 Spokane. Mike showed steady improvement in his minor league career and 1971 made the Dodgers' roster. He was one of 6 Dodgers named to PCL All-Star Team in 1970 and won Topps award as one of two top hurlers in circuit. He first signed with the Phillies. He played Triple A for the Los Angeles, Angels for a few years. He loved baseball.

After his baseball career he was a mechanical engineer for Proctor and Gamble for 35 years. He retired and moved to Alamogordo in 2004.
Mike met and married his wife, Dana in Alamogordo in 2010. He was a very generous person and would do anything for anyone and loved people. His family was his whole life and he will be sorely missed by his family, friends and neighbors and most especially by his Great Dane, Nina, who was his constant companion. Mike's generosity was greater than the whole world.

Mike is preceded in death by his mother.

Mike is survived by his wife Dana of the family home, his father, Richard G. Strahler, Sacramento, Calif.; daughters Shivon (Michael) Benoit, Sacramento, Calif.; Shila (Danny) Guyette, Oxnard, Calif.; Shana (Weston) Gutierrez, Oxnard, Calif. Grandchildren; Elijah Benoit, Andrew, Jessie, Suni, Naya, Dasia Guyette, Izaac and Xavier Gutierrez.

Memorial services will be held at Hamilton Odell Chapel, Friday, July 29, 2016, at 10:00 a.m., with Rev Dustin Wilhite officiating.

"Death is but the anesthesia God gives as he takes from this world to His."

Gordon R. Massa
September 2, 1935 - July 16, 2016

The Hay Funeral Home
July 16, 2016

Gordon R. Massa 80, passed away at his home July 16, 2016. Beloved husband of the late Clare (nee Mehring). Youngest son of the late Arthur and Marie Massa. Loving father of Steve (Melissa), Jeannie, Jodi (Alan), Gordy (Lianne), Elaine (Mike) and Andrew (Rachel). Proud grandfather of Taylor, Tony, Maggie, Ryan, Nick, Jordan, Trevor, Payton, Carson, Maria and Morgan. Dear brother of Rita, Patty, Roger and the late Don, Bob, Art, Jerry and Jim.

Alumnus of Elder High School and Holy Cross College. After graduating, briefly played for the Chicago Cubs and moved on to a successful sales career with Ashland Chemical. Helped initiate the athletic program at Immaculate Heart of Mary and enjoyed coaching. Member of: Price Hill Baseball Old Timers Hall of Fame, Buddy Larosa’s Hall of Fame and Holy Cross Athletic Hall of Fame.

Devout Catholic who lived his life according to his faith. Blessed by many friends and family, who meant so much to him.

Visitation 5-8pm, Wednesday, July 20th at Hay Funeral Home, 7312 Beechmont 45230. Mass of Christian Burial 10:30 am, Thursday, July 21st at IHM, 7820 Beechmont 45255.

Former Orioles Play-By-Play Man Tom Marr Dies At 73
By: Stan Charles
July 7, 2016

Tom Marr -- who died July 7, reportedly of a stroke following back surgery, at the age of 73 -- was part of the Orioles' radio coverage that forever changed the way baseball was broadcasted in Baltimore.

The 1979 season saw the Orioles advance to the World Series, eventually losing in seven games to the Pirates. Also important to the history of baseball in Baltimore was the coverage the 1979 team received from a small 5,000-watt radio station, then-WFBR, 1300. The coverage took one game-winning home run by Doug Decinces and ushered in a catchphrase "Orioles Magic," which still sticks today.

Prior to 1979, Orioles attendance was always an iffy proposition. Despite having one of the best teams in baseball from the first World Championship in 1966 through 1978, the Orioles struggled to attract more than a million fans a year at Memorial Stadium. That all began to change in 1979, when WFBR, a smaller-signaled radio station, took over the team rights.

A longtime news veteran at WFBR, Marr always remembered the years the station had the Orioles' broadcast rights, 1979-1986, fondly. His involvement during those baseball seasons with the Orioles were some of the happiest years of his professional life. His friendship with legendary manager Earl Weaver was well known throughout the game.

Prior to Marr's work as a play-by-play man for the Orioles, the voice of the Orioles had always belonged to the great Chuck Thompson, along with several others like Herb Carneal, Frank Messer and Bill O'Donnell. Of course, Jon Miller took over for Thompson as lead play-by-play man in 1983. Marr sat by Miller's side from 1983-86.

After the Orioles changed radio stations in 1987, Marr remained at WFBR to be a part of their new all-talk format.

The new format was unsuccessful, and the station was sold in 1988. That year, Marr went to work for WCBM. He was a reporter, a political commentator and a talk show host. His views were generally considered to be on the conservative side.

On a personal level, I started my broadcast career in 1981 at WFBR, and Marr was a friend and a great mentor. While our politics never meshed, I shared laughs with Marr in moments that will never be celebrated in quite the same way. Marr is survived by his wife of 53 years, Sharon, five kids and 10 grandchildren.

In 1983, I began to put together highlights from Orioles games and mixed them with songs. I would listen to great call after call of Miller and Marr. They remain some of my fondest memories. I can still hear them today.

In no way am I comparing Marr to the incomparable Miller for pure play-by-play ability. However, there was something so genuine about Marr's enthusiasm for the hometown team of which he was a fan through and through.

One particular call I'll never forget centered around a popular rock song that came out in 1982, Eddie Grant's "Electric Avenue." After a heroic late-inning home run by a Lenn Sakata or a Benny Ayala, the WFBR crowd microphones would let the listeners at home or in the car know the noise was deafening throughout Memorial Stadium, and Marr could be heard saying "33rd Street is Electric Avenue."

Jim Hickman, Slugger for Expansion Mets and All-Star with Cubs, Dies at 79

By Richard Goldstein
The New York Times
June 26, 2016

Jim Hickman, who supplied batting punch for the Mets during their futile early years and then became an All-Star for the Chicago Cubs, died on Saturday in Jackson, Tenn. He was 79.

His death was confirmed by his son Mike, who did not specify the cause.

Hickman, a lanky right-handed batter, played in the outfield and at first and third base in a 13-year major league career. In his years with the Mets, from 1962 to 1966, first at the Polo Grounds and then at Shea Stadium, he set several team milestones.

He was the first Met to hit three home runs in a single game and the first to hit for the cycle — a single, double, triple and homer in one game. (He did it in that order.) He was also the last Met to hit a home run at the Polo Grounds, connecting off the Philadelphia Phillies’ Chris Short on Sept. 18, 1963.

Taking advantage of the Polo Grounds’ short left-field line, Hickman hit 30 home runs for Casey Stengel’s Mets in their first two seasons, when they lost a total of 231 games. His most memorable one came on Aug. 9, 1963, two days after he hit for the cycle against the St. Louis Cardinals, when his grand slam in the ninth inning off the Cubs’ Lindy McDaniel gave the Mets a 7-3 victory that ended pitcher Roger Craig’s stretch of 18 consecutive losses.

Hickman was traded to the Dodgers in November 1966. He was the last Met remaining from the expansion draft that stocked the team’s inaugural roster.

Dealt to the Cubs after one year in Los Angeles, Hickman was platooned for a while, then flourished at the plate after the Cubs’ manager, Leo Durocher, made him a regular late in the 1969 season.

He hit 21 homers for the 1969 Cubs, who were overtaken by the long-downtrodden Mets in their startling run to a World Series championship. The next year he hit 32 home runs, drove in 115 runs, batted .315 and was No. 8 in the balloting for the National League’s most valuable player. He was also an All-Star that year for the only time in his career.

Hickman became a footnote to a notorious moment in All-Star Game history when he delivered a 12th-inning single at the 1970 game in Cincinnati, driving in Pete Rose with the winning run. Rose scored when he barreled into the American League catcher, Ray Fosse, instead of sliding, and severely injured Fosse’s shoulder.

Drawing a stark contrast between Hickman and many of his teammates after he drove in the winning run in a victory over the Dodgers in June 1970, Durocher remarked, “He gives you not 100 but 150 percent on the field, and some of those guys should be kissing his feet.”

Hickman in turn praised Durocher. “Leo saved me,” he told in a 2014 interview. “I was just a part-time player. He gave me a real good chance to play. After I had a little success, I felt he had a little confidence in me, and that helped me.”

James Lucius Hickman was born in Henning, Tenn., on May 10, 1937. He signed with the Cardinals’ organization in 1956 and played in their minor league system until he joined the Mets.

Having missed three months of the 1966 season with a wrist injury, Hickman was traded to the Dodgers along with Ron Hunt, the Mets’ star second baseman, for Tommy Davis, a two-time N.L. batting champion.

Hickman played five seasons with the Mets, one with the Dodgers, six with the Cubs and a final year with the Cardinals. He retired after the 1974 season with a .252 career batting average and 159 home runs.

In addition to his son Mike, he is survived by three other sons, Jim Jr., Bill and Joey, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His wife, Juanita, died in 2012.

Hickman, who lived in Henning, ran a farm after his retirement from baseball and then became a batting instructor for the Cincinnati Reds’ minor league system.

“I tell them I was 32 before I learned to hit,” he was quoted by George Castle in the 2005 book “Where Have All Our Cubs Gone?” “When a kid’s struggling, I’ll use that example.”

Joseph A. Schaffernoth

Paul Ippolito Berkeley Memorial Home, June 20, 2016

Joseph A. Schaffernoth of Berkeley Heights, N.J. passed away peacefully after a hard fought battle with cancer, surrounded by his family on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at the age of 78.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend the Memorial Mass on Friday, June 24th at 10:45 AM at St. Teresa of Avila Church, Morris Ave, Summit. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Paul Ippolito Berkeley Memorial.

Joseph was born in Trenton, N.J. to Charles and Anna Schaffernoth and was a longtime resident of Berkeley Heights, N.J. After high school Joseph was drafted to play Major League Baseball where he played for the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians as a Pitcher for several years until suffering a shoulder injury. After his professional baseball career Joseph worked as a manager for the Palnut division of TRW until his retirement. Joseph's greatest joy was spending time with his family and attending all his grandchildren's activities. He also enjoyed golfing with his buddies.

Joseph is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years Patricia Schaffernoth (nee Mazzucco), his loving children: LuAnn Lyons and her husband Paul and Lauren DeFuria and her husband Brian, brothers: Charles and Dale Schaffernoth and cherished grandchildren: Bradford, Zachary, Derek, Gavin, Curtis, Morgan and Justin.

In lieu of flowers kindly consider a donation to the Berkeley Heights Vol. Rescue Squad in Joseph’s memory.

Phillip Winston Hennigan Sr.
Friday, June 17, 2016 4:05 pm

Phillip Winston Hennigan, Sr. 70, of Center, passed away Friday, June 17, 2016 at his residence.

Services will be 10:30 a.m. Monday, June 20, 2016 at Mangum Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Kevin Windham and Bro. D.J. Dickerson officiating. Burial will follow at Adams Cemetery in Shelbyville with military honors under the direction of the US Army Honor Guards. Visitation will be Sunday, June 19, 2016 from 6-8 p.m. at Mangum Funeral Home.

He was born April 10, 1946 in Jasper to Joseph Polk and Joye Wynell (Phillips) Hennigan. He was the middle child, the favorite, over his brother Gary and Sister, Connie. Phillip Hennigan, a former Major League Baseball player, played from 1969-1973 with the Cleveland Indians (Ohio) and the New York Mets.

Hennigan attended Jasper High School, graduating in 1964. He then attended Sam Houston State University. He was drafted in fourth round by the Indians in 1966. Hennigan served in the US Army from 1966 to 1968 where he served during Vietnam.

He made his debut with the Indians on Sept. 2, 1969. Hennigan pitched out of the Cleveland Indian bullpen from 1969-1972. He became the Indians’ ace reliever in 1971 going 4-3 with 14 saves, the 8th best in the American League. He was traded to the Mets in 1972.

After retiring from baseball, he joined the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) for five years. He also has worked for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department and was later employed with the Center Police Department from 1995 -2012 where he retired as a Sergeant. He was a Peace officer for over 40 years.

Phil was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend to many. He enjoyed spending time with Lynda Kaye and entertaining friends. The highlight of his life was watching baseball games with his sons and grandsons. He was especially proud of his grandson, Jonathan Hennigan for following in his footsteps. He dreamed of the day Zayne would be on the big field. He and his wife attended Camp Springs Baptist Church in Hemphill.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph Polk and Joye Wynell (Phillips) Hennigan; brother Gary Hennigan and son Scotty Hennigan.

He is survived by his loving wife of 29 years, Lynda K. Russell of Center; sons Phil Hennigan and wife, Kim of Center and Steven Hennigan of Center; grandchildren Jonathan Hennigan, Zayne Hennigan, and Ryan Gray; two great-grandchildren; sister Connie Hatton and husband, Carl of Woodville; sister-in-law Debbie Hennigan of Woodville; mother-in-law

Edrie Parsons of Center; special friends Karla Vaughn, Mary Ann Parsons, Barbara Dance, Janice Pugh, and Pat Hooker; niece and nephews David Hennigan, Neil Hennigan, Derrick Hennigan, Greg Hatton and Christy Woolston; and numerous great-nieces great-nephews.

Pallbearers are James Hagler, Jamie Hagler, Bob Atchison, Sammy Dance, Charles Hooker, Walter Shofner, Brent Dance and Spence Dance.

Honorary Pallbearers are Phil Hennigan, Steven Hennigan, Jonathan Hennigan, Zayne Hennigan, Carl Hatton, Ryan Gray, Neil Hennigan, David Hennigan and Dillon Windham.

In lieu of flowers family request donations to be made to the Center Youth Baseball In Memory of Phil Hennigan, c/o Jason Mitchell PO BOX 991, Center, Texas 75935.

Services are under the direction of Mangum Funeral Home Center, Texas.

Former major-leaguer Chico Fernandez dies at 84

Max Bultman
The Sun Sentinel
June 13, 2016 6:24 PM EDT

Humberto "Chico" Fernandez, a former major league shortstop who was inducted into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame, died Saturday in Sunrise after complications from a past stroke. He was 84.

Fernandez, who lived in Florida since 1998 and at his current home in Sunrise since 1999, was inducted in 1997.

In his eight seasons in the major leagues (1956-63), Fernandez played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers and New York Mets. He was a career .240 hitter with 40 home runs, but he had a 20-homer season with Detroit in 1962. The Detroit Free Press called him the first regular starting Latino player for the Tigers.

Perhaps his most famous major league moment came in 1961, when he stole home in the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium.

Promoted stories from
NBA employee training for Rio Olympics
The Cavs are trying to do something that’s never been done
Ayesha Curry ridiculed for outspokenness during NBA Finals

Fernandez and his wife, Lynne, moved to Florida to be near his baseball friends, and he attended old-timers baseball events in retirement. One summer — Lynne could not recall which — he coached an underprivileged baseball team in Miami.

"He loved Florida," Lynne said on the phone Monday. "The weather — it's like Cuba. It's the closest he could get to Cuba."

Fernandez grew up in a poor family in Havana before defecting to the United States in 1961.

In Lou Hernandez's 2003 book "Memories of Winter Ball," Fernandez recalled playing in Cuba during the revolution, including flyovers during games while the military jets conducted exercises. He said in the book that he left after the 1961 winter season, planning to return, until his parents told him not to come back.

"He always said he left without saying goodbye," Lynne said. Before he passed, they had talked about going to Havana one more time.

Fernandez picked up the nickname Chico in his playing days, and it stuck. He introduced himself as Chico, and when he and Lynne first met, in Detroit, she thought it was his real name. And even in his old age, he was never shy about reliving his playing days.

"He talked about baseball to anybody that called, anyone that visited. We've got scrapbooks of each different team," Lynne said.

According to the Free Press, Hernandez was survived by his wife, Lynne, two daughters, two step-daughters, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Lee Pfund, longtime coach at Wheaton College, dies at 96

Bob Goldsborough
The Chicago Tribune
June 2, 2016 2:38 PM EDT

Lee Pfund pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers for one season during World War II before going on to coach baseball and basketball for decades at Wheaton College.

The west suburban native led Wheaton's men's basketball program to 362 victories, five conference championships, four straight seasons without a league loss and one national title. And during his time as Wheaton's head baseball coach, he rallied the team to win 249 games and its only conference title.

"Lee attracted good players that played well together with an up-tempo style," said former Wheaton College head men's basketball coach Dick Helm, who also played for Pfund as a student at Wheaton. "I think that made him effective."

Pfund, 96, died of congestive heart failure June 2 in an assisted living unit at the Windsor Park Manor retirement community in Carol Stream, said his son, Kerry.

Born in Oak Park, Pfund grew up in Elmhurst and graduated in 1937 from York High School, where he played football and basketball and ran track. Pfund attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he played baseball.

The St. Louis Cardinals signed Pfund out of college, and he began an eight-year professional baseball career. After four years in the minor leagues, the Brooklyn Dodgers drafted him in late 1944 and promoted him to the major leagues in 1945.

Pfund pitched in 15 games for the Dodgers, notching three victories against two losses. A knee injury during a game in July 1945 sidelined Pfund for the rest of the season.

Pfund returned to the minors in 1946, and after battling knee and shoulder injuries, quit playing in 1950. In 1949, he took a job coaching baseball and teaching physical education at Wheaton College.

"That was the outcome of my professional baseball career — that the Lord lent me an opportunity which became my adult life work," Pfund told the Tribune in 2010.

Pfund was Wheaton's head baseball coach from 1948 until 1959 and again from 1961 until 1974. His 1951 squad remains the only baseball team to have won a conference championship.

Also in 1951, Pfund began coaching Wheaton's men's basketball team. Pfund's squads won five conference titles and from 1956 until 1959 went four straight seasons without a league loss. Pfund also led the team to a 28-1 record and the NCAA Collegiate Division title in 1957.

"We ran and pressed a lot and did that pretty much all of my career," Pfund told the Tribune in 1993. "It made it more fun for the players."
Notable deaths in 2016

After pressure from opponents in the College Conference of Illinois, Wheaton exited in 1959 but rejoined in 1967.

"We had a long string of undefeated conference champions, and the league just wasn't comfortable with that," Pfund told the Tribune in 1993. "They really wanted to see us leave."

Helm, who played basketball for Pfund from 1951 until 1954, recalled how the coach "liked the fast-break style" and "team play." He also tried to minimize stress on players, Helm said.

"He always had an interesting halftime story to tell to keep the players relaxed," he said.

Pfund's three sons — John, Kerry and Randy — all played for him at Wheaton. Randy went on to coach the Los Angeles Lakers and became general manager of the Miami Heat.

"I must have had 25 guys who went on to coach somewhere," Pfund told the Tribune in 1993. "But those were fellows who were inclined to do those things."

Joe Bean, who spent three years as Pfund's assistant for the baseball team, said he "learned more about the game in those three years than all my others."

"What a wonderful example he was to his players, and they all respected and admired him," said Bean, now a retired men's soccer coach at Wheaton.

In 1959, Pfund earned a master's degree in guidance and counseling from Northwestern University. He stepped back from coaching basketball in 1975 and took on a different role as executive director of Wheaton's alumni association. He retired from the college in 1987 as its executive director and vice president of alumni relations.

"Lee Pfund is a revered figure from my childhood," Wheaton College President Philip Ryken said in a statement. "When my father and I ducked into the gymnasium to watch a few minutes of basketball practice, or when I walked over … to watch a baseball game, Coach Pfund was always there: teaching, encouraging, strategizing and occasionally arguing with the umpires and referees. His exceptional spirit of competition and sportsmanship produced generations of Christian leaders. We will miss his presence courtside and on the sidelines immensely."

After retiring, Pfund enjoyed golfing, watching Wheaton College sporting events, following the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bulls, involving himself in his church and serving as president of Glen Ellyn's Rotary Club. He also served on the board of Wheaton's Center for History.

In 2012, Wheaton College honored Pfund by renaming its baseball stadium the Lee Pfund Stadium at Legion Field.

Pfund's wife of 64 years, Mabel, died in 2006. In addition to his sons, he is survived by two sisters, Ruth Muzzy and Phyllis Hiley.

A visitation will take place from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at Hultgren Funeral Home, 304 N. Main St. in Wheaton. A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. July 9 at College Church, 332 E. Seminary Ave., Wheaton.

Ron Henry, swingin’ Denver singer, dies at 79

Henry was best known for singing and acting in Denver but had a long baseball career

By Claire Cleveland
The Denver Post
June 2, 2016

For the past 35 years, Ron Henry was a fixture at Denver bars and clubs where he was a well-known singer and actor, but what his fans may not know is that he also played major-league baseball.

To his five children, his siblings and his many grandchildren, Henry was fun-loving and a joy to be around.

“He loved his friends, he loved his life, he loved all the people he encountered, all the people he interacted with especially with the music,” said Rebecca Mobley, one of Henry’s daughters.

Ronald Baxter Henry died on May 14 at his home in Denver from cardiovascular disease and end stage renal disease. He was 79.

Mobley said if she had to pick one word to describe him, it would be “charismatic.”

“He was a fun-loving guy. He liked to laugh a lot. He was kind of a jokester,” she said. “He loved us a lot. He tried to give us a lot of good advice. … He really adored his grandkids.”

Henry, one of five children, was born on Aug. 7, 1936, to James Henry Sr. and Essie Lee Ragin Henry in Chester, Pa. He was a strong athlete throughout his childhood and started his baseball career at just 17 when he played in an American Legion all-star game. He hit a home run into the left-center-field stands at Connie Mack Stadium, former home of the Philadelphia Phillies, which earned him the MVP title for the game, said his younger sister, Valaida Henry.

The night before the big game, Henry was hanging out with his younger cousins when “he looked in the mirror at them and pretended he was swinging a baseball bat. He said he was gonna hit it out of the stadium, and then he did that,” Valaida Henry said.

A catcher, he signed with the Milwaukee Braves in 1954. With his first signing bonus, he bought his parents and siblings a home, which his sister Valaida still lives in today.

“He came one time with cash, and like you see on TV, people with money throwing it up on the bed. I remember doing that,” she said.

Henry played in the minor leagues for 15 seasons (1954-68), and he spent 20 games of the 1961 season and 22 more major-league games in 1964 as a member of the Minnesota Twins. He hit two home runs in the 1964 season.

After his baseball career ended and then a brief time in the Army, he settled in Denver, where he spent 35 years as a singer and actor, becoming an integral member of the music scene.

Henry played shows at the Manhattan Grill, the 9th Hole, which is now Roo Bar, and, most famously, The Bay Wolf in the early 1980s. He acted at various venues, including Armando’s Ristorante and Rodney’s. He also had a role in the Country Dinner Playhouse’s “Damn Yankees.”

“It was wonderful seeing your brother up on stage and seeing people loving him so,” Valaida said.

In recent years, Henry lived with and was cared for by his sister Gale Boulware and her children, Mark Boulware, Desiree Burgos and Mikel Boulware.

Henry is survived by children Rebecca Mobley, Jason Henry, Donna Moore, Sheryl Johnson and Rodney Shelton; sisters Valaida Henry and Gale Boulware; his many grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Friday at the Valley View Church of God, 4390 S. Lowell Blvd., in Englewood. A celebration of life will be Saturday at Herb’s, 2057 Larimer St., in Denver.