Recent Passings

Ezra Malachi (Pat) McGlothin

Published in Knoxville News Sentinel from Oct. 25 to Oct. 28, 2014

McGlothin, Ezra Malachi (Pat) - age 93, of Knoxville, passed away Friday, October 24, 2014.

Pat grew up in the John Sevier Community and later graduated from Central High School. He attended the University of Tennessee and played on the baseball team for two seasons, after which he enlisted in the Navy during World War II.

Pat's signature baseball accomplishment was a game in 1944 with the Corpus Christi All-Stars. He pitched a 19 inning complete game, facing Ted Williams seven at bats with no hits surrendered and three strike outs. Pat went on to drive in the winning run. He rose through the minor leagues, culminating in two seasons as a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949 and 1950.

Pat was on the 1949 Dodger team that faced the New York Yankees in the World Series and was one of the last surviving players from that historic baseball era.

After his playing days ended Pat served as manager of the Knoxville Smokies for one season and then began his career in the insurance industry. As president and owner of Mutual Insurance Agency in Knoxville for over 60 years, Pat was a well-known and respected member of the community, officially retiring from work at age 90.

Pat was a member of First Baptist Church of Knoxville for over half a century, serving as deacon and longtime greeter at the front door before Sunday services. He also faithfully attended Burlington Masonic Lodge and Downtown Optimist Club for many decades.

Later in life Pat received several recognitions for his athletic prowess including the Mobile Bears Hall of Fame, Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame, and Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame.

Pat maintained a keen mind until the very end in spite of physical limitations and was constantly engaged in the financial markets, sports, and his family.

Affectionately known as Daddy Pat to his grandchildren, Pat was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, community servant, and man of faith. He taught his family and friends what it meant to be a lifelong servant to others, showing Christ's love and a deep sense of humility to everyone he met.

Pat is preceded in death by his parents, Ezra Malachi Sr. and Bessie (Gouge) McGlothin; three brothers, Elmer, Kenneth, and Paul McGlothin; and two sisters, Anne Lovelace and Frankie Watson.

Survivors include his wife of 69 years, Dorothy Lindsay McGlothin (Dot); one son, Steve McGlothin and his wife Carol; a daughter, Suzan Dewine, two grandsons, Patrick McGlothin, Kevin McGlothin and his wife Jenny; two granddaughters, Kristin Finck and her husband Adam, Kim Dewine and her fiancé Kevin Lawrence.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 5:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Knoxville, 510 W. Main Street, Knoxville, TN 37902, with the Rev. Dave Ward and Dr. Tom Ogburn officiating.

A visitation for friends will follow the funeral services at the church. Private interment will be at Highland Memorial Park with Patrick and Kevin McGlothin, Adam Finck and Kevin Lawrence serving as pallbearers.

Memorial contributions may be made to the First Baptist Church of Knoxville, 510 W. Main Street, Knoxville, TN. 37902.

These funeral arrangements are under the care of Bridges Funeral Home, 5430 Rutledge Pike, 865-523-4999.


Former Tigers pitcher Jeff Robinson, 52, dies

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
October 27, 2014 6:54 p.m. EDT

Jeff Robinson, a promising pitching prospect in the early 1980s who went on to pitch in nearly 100 games for the Tigers, passed away Sunday afternoon after a seven-week battle with undisclosed health issues. He was 52.

Mike Henneman, Robinson's roommate in the minors and major leagues, confirmed his death to The News. Henneman flew from Texas to see Robinson in Kansas last week, knowing the prognosis was grim.

Robinson died at a hospice near home in Overland Park, Kansas, surrounded by his wife, Meredith, family and friends. He also is survived by twin sons who play baseball at Neosho County Community College, and a daughter.

Robinson was a third-round pick by the Tigers in 1983 out of Azusa Pacific University and made his major-league debut in 1987, tossing seven innings of one-run ball to beat the White Sox.

He helped the Tigers to an American League East championship, and appeared in one game in that year's American League Championship Series against the Twins, Game 5, and would go on to make 97 appearances in all for Detroit over four years, almost exclusively as a starter.

Tall, at 6-foot-6, the right-hander's best season in Detroit, by far, was 1988, when, in 24 games (23 starts) he was 13-6 with a 2.98 ERA. In 172 innings, he allowed just 121 hits. On a staff that included bigger names like Jack Morris, Frank Tanana and Doyle Alexander, Robinson was the most consistent that season.

Robinson never got back to that level, however. He struggled the next two seasons with the Tigers, and after the 1990 season, he was traded to the Orioles for power-hitting catcher Mickey Tettleton.

He spent a year in Baltimore and split the early months of 1992 between Texas and Pittsburgh. Detroit brought him back that July and sent him to Triple-A Toledo, trying him as a reliever, but he never got back to the major leagues, retiring before the following spring training.

For his career, he was 47-40 with a 4.79 ERA in 141 appearances.

After his playing days, Robinson returned home to California before moving to Kansas in 1998. He spent years teaching baseball to kids, including time as the pitching director at the Natural Baseball Academy in Olathe, Kansas.

"That was his passion," Henneman said.


Oscar Taveras, Promising Cardinals Outfielder, Dies in Car Crash

By Tyler Kepner
The New York Times
October 26, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO — Oscar Taveras, a promising outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 22.

Word of Taveras’s death spread during the early innings of Game 5 of the World Series at AT&T Park, where Taveras played his final game Oct. 16, in the fifth game of the National League Championship Series. He homered in his first and last games in St. Louis: in his debut on May 31 and in the Cardinals’ last home playoff game this month.

“I simply can’t believe it,” Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. “I first met Oscar when he was 16 years old and will forever remember him as a wonderful young man who was a gifted athlete with an infectious love for life who lived every day to the fullest.”

Taveras was ranked by Baseball America and other outlets as the No. 3 prospect in the game before this season. His breakout season was 2012, when he hit 23 homers while batting .321 in Class AA. After injuries sidetracked him last year, he hit .318 with eight homers in 62 games at Class AAA this season.

Taveras appeared in 80 games for the Cardinals this season, hitting .239 with three homers, playing mostly in right field. He was expected to compete for the starting job in spring training.

This is the first death of an active major leaguer since Greg Halman, a Seattle Mariners outfielder, died after being stabbed by his brother in the Netherlands in 2011. The Cardinals have been touched by other tragedies in recent years, including the death of pitchers Darryl Kile, to a heart defect in 2002, and Josh Hancock, in a car accident in 2007.

Lou Lucier, 96, oldest living Red Sox, dies

The Telegram & Gazette Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lou Lucier, who had been the oldest living former Red Sox player, passed away Saturday afternoon at the Millbury Health Care Center, according to family members.

He was 96.

Born in Northbridge and raised in Grafton, Lucier pitched parts of three seasons in the wartime major leagues from 1943-1945, winning three games for Joe Cronin's Boston Red Sox in 1943.

A 5-foot-8, 160-pound right-hander, Lucier made his major league debut in relief on April 23, 1943, against Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics at Shibe Park. But his first major league win came in the second game of a doubleheader at old Comiskey Park in Chicago on May 16, 1943.

In an era long before for the designated hitter, the 25-year-old Lucier got two hits and drove in two runs in the Red Sox's 4-2 win.

"The two runs I drove in were actually the winning runs," Lucier said in a 2010 interview with the Telegram & Gazette.

Lucier, whose teammates during that 1943 included Hall of Famers Bobby Doerr and Al Simmons, also went the distance on the mound, allowing nine hits, striking out four and walking two. Only one of the runs he allowed was earned, by the way, and the game, watched by 9,874, took just 1 hour and 43 minutes to play.

Lucier's second victory came against the Tigers on May 30, 1943. He allowed only seven hits in that 5-1 win, the only Detroit run scoring on Rip Radcliff's hit in the first inning. The Red Sox, who finished eighth in the American League in '43, scored two runs in the sixth and three in the seventh.

"They hit me a little bit harder then than the first time," Lucier recalled.

His third victory came against Detroit in the first game of a doubleheader, also at Fenway, on Sept. 26, 1943. Lucier, who pitched all 10 innings of the 3-2 win.

Lucier finished the 1943 season with a 3-4 record and 3.89 ERA, pitching in 16 games, nine of them starts.

He went onto pitch three more games for the Red Sox in 1944 and another game for Philadelphia that season before ending his career with the Phillies at the age of 27, pitching for the final time on June 13, 1945.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Earl Smith

Published in the Fresno Bee on Oct. 2, 2014

Earl was born on March 14, 1928, in Sunnyside, WA the youngest of five children born to Walter and Grace Smith. When he was about eight years old the family moved to Southern California where Earl graduated from Bonita High School in LaVerne, CA in 1946 and later from Fresno State College in 1951.

He was an outstanding athlete who lettered in numerous sports while in high school, and played varsity football and baseball while attending FSC. But his dream was always with baseball and he signed his first professional baseball contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in June of 1949.

He was inducted into the California State University, Fresno, Baseball Hall of Fame in November of 1998. After retiring from baseball, Earl worked in the grocery business and had his own market for many years before retiring to the country to become an almond farmer.

In September of 1947 he met Betty Wimer of Fresno and they were married September 24, 1949. Earl and Betty celebrated their 65th anniversary several days before his death on September 27, 2014.

Earl and Betty had three children, Joanne (Michael Meyer), Richard (Gwen), and Lisa (Chris Mabe) who all survive him. He also leaves five grandsons; and three great-grandchildren; as well as a sister, Hazel Snell, of McPherson, KS.

A Graveside Service in remembrance of Earl will be held at Fresno Memorial Gardens on Friday, October 3, 2014, at 10:00 a.m.

Front office mainstay Martinez passes away

Special assistant to GM had been with Braves since 1995 season


By Mark Bowman / MLB.com | October 2, 2014


ATLANTA -- The Braves lost a valuable and treasured friend when Jose Martinez suddenly passed away at an Orlando-area hospital on Wednesday night. Martinez had spent the past couple of weeks exercising his passion to help young baseball players at the Braves' Spring Training complex.

Martinez, 72, had just completed his 20th season as a special assistant to the general manager in the Braves' organization. The friendly Cuban was lured to Atlanta by Braves president John Schuerholz before the 1995 season. Schuerholz and Martinez had become associated while they were together in the Royals' organization.

While he had a good eye for scouting talent in Latin American countries, Martinez's greatest value came via his ability to relate and communicate with the Minor League players as they adjusted to life in professional baseball. His contributions on the development end were appreciated by former first-round Draft pick Matt Lipka and the many other players who benefited from his desire to assist.

Martinez also touched the lives of many front office members, including Royals general manager Dayton Moore, who worked for the Braves before going to Kansas City. Moore was one of the many who used to enjoy the nights when Martinez would cook some kind of fish and tell stories until the late night hours during Spring Training.

Before joining the Braves, Martinez spent 15 seasons as a Major League coach for the Royals (1980-88) and Cubs ('88-94). His big league playing career consisted of the 201 games he played over two seasons ('69-70) with the Pirates.


George Shuba, 89, Dies; Handshake Heralded Racial Tolerance in Baseball


By Richard Goldstein
The New Your Times
September 30, 2014

George Shuba, the Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder who played in three World Series during the 1950s but who was best remembered for his welcoming gesture to Jackie Robinson at home plate on the day Robinson, as a minor leaguer, broke baseball’s color barrier, died on Monday at his home in Youngstown, Ohio. He was 89.

His son, Michael, confirmed the death.

Playing in Brooklyn for seven seasons, Shuba was usually a backup, but he had his moments. Known as Shotgun for his ability to spray line drives, like buckshot, out of his left-handed batting stance, he batted .305 for the Dodgers’ 1952 National League pennant-winner. He was the first National Leaguer to hit a pinch-hit homer in the World Series, connecting for a two-run drive off Allie Reynolds at Yankee Stadium in Game 1 of the 1953 Series.

But his career was most pointedly defined in Jersey City, by an image at home plate at Roosevelt Stadium two years before Shuba made his major league debut.

On the afternoon of April 18, 1946, Robinson became the first black player in modern organized baseball when he made his debut with the Dodgers’ Montreal Royals farm team in their International League opener against the Jersey City Giants.

In the third inning, Robinson hit a three-run homer over the left-field fence. When he completed his trip around the bases, Shuba, the Royals’ left fielder and their next batter, shook his hand.

Congratulating a home-run hitter was a commonplace ritual, but Shuba’s welcome to a smiling Robinson was captured in an Associated Press photograph that has endured as a portrait of racial tolerance.

“I couldn’t care less if Jackie was Technicolor,” Shuba told The Montreal Gazette on the 60th anniversary of that handshake. “We’d spent 30 days at spring training, and we all knew that Jackie had been a great athlete at U.C.L.A. As far as I was concerned, he was a great ballplayer — our best. I had no problem going to the plate to shake his hand instead of waiting for him to come by me in the on-deck circle.”

Robinson had four hits in five plate appearances that afternoon in the Royals’ 14-1 victory. In their second game of the season, Shuba hit three home runs.

When Robinson joined the Dodgers in 1947, he faced the full force of racism. He heard taunting from opposing dugouts and received hate mail and death threats. But he surmounted the pressures, earning what was then the major leagues’ one Rookie of the Year award on his way to a Hall of Fame career and recognition as a civil rights pioneer.

Shuba would celebrate with Robinson and their teammates when the 1955 Dodgers captured Brooklyn’s only World Series championship.

George Thomas Shuba was born on Dec. 13, 1924, in Youngstown, where his father, an immigrant from Czechoslovakia, worked in a steel mill. He was signed by the Dodgers’ organization in 1944 after attending a tryout camp.

Shuba played in only 20 games for Montreal in 1946 before being sent to the Dodgers’ Mobile, Ala., team of the lower-classification Southern Association. He did not make his debut with the Dodgers until July 2, 1948.

Although he had a smooth hitting stroke, Shuba was hampered in Brooklyn by a knee injury he had incurred with Montreal, and he faced stiff competition getting outfield playing time. “Snider, Pafko, Furillo, they weren’t humpties,” he told the author Roger Kahn in “The Boys of Summer,” referring to Duke Snider, Andy Pafko and Carl Furillo.

In 1955, when Shuba played in his third Dodgers-Yankees World Series, he became a footnote figure in Brooklyn baseball history.

In his only appearance in that Series, Shuba grounded out pinch-hitting for second baseman Don Zimmer in the sixth inning of Game 7 at Yankee Stadium. Jim Gilliam, the Dodgers left fielder, replaced Zimmer at second, and Sandy Amoros went to left. In the bottom of the sixth, Amoros made a sparkling catch on a drive by Yogi Berra with two men on base, and the Dodgers, behind the pitching of Johnny Podres, went on to beat the Yankees, 2-0, for their Series championship.

Shuba retired after that season with a career batting average of .259 and 24 home runs. He later worked as a postal clerk in Youngstown.

In addition to his son, Michael, Shuba is survived by his wife, Kathryn; his daughters Marlene Delfranio and Marykay McNeeley; a sister, Helen Wasko; and eight grandchildren.

Shuba kept only one baseball memento from his playing days in his living room, the photograph of that handshake when he was a minor leaguer. He carried a print with him when he visited schools in the Youngstown area to speak about racial tolerance.

Michael Shuba said in an interview Tuesday that his father had taken the ball field with black players in Ohio before joining the Dodgers’ organization and that his Roman Catholic upbringing — he was an altar boy — “had an impact” on how he treated others.

When he would go home from school and report an incident of bullying, Michael Shuba said, his father would point to the image from April 1946 and say: “Look up at that photo. I want you to remember what that stands for. You treat all people equally.”

Grant Lester Dunlap
December 20, 1923 - September 10, 2014

Published in the Los Angeles Times from Sept. 21 to Sept. 28, 2014

Grant Lester Dunlap, Professor Emeritus of Occidental College, died September 10 in Vista, CA at the age of 90.

Born in Stockton, CA in 1923, Dunlap played professional baseball, including a one year stint in the major leagues with the Cardinals; served as an officer in the Marine Corps in World War II; and attended both Occidental College in Los Angeles and University of the Pacific in Stockton.

In 1955 he returned to Occidental as a coach, athletic director and professor. As basketball coach, he compiled a record of 205-156, as baseball coach a 510-316 record. Dunlap and his wife Janet, retired to San Diego County in 1984.

In 1994 he published a sports novel called Kill the Umpire based on his experiences in the Texas league. He was also a member of Shadowridge Country Club in Vista.


Frank Torre, older brother of Yankees Hall of Fame skipper Joe and former Milwaukee Braves first baseman, dead at 82

Though he was nine years older, Frank Torre, who broke into the majors with the Milwaukee Braves in 1956, served as a mentor to his younger brother growing up on Avenue T in Brooklyn, and later as a father figure after their parents split up.



By Bill Madden
New York Daily News
Saturday, September 13, 2014, 12:18 PM

He was the ultimate big brother.

Frank Torre, who provided guidance, fierce loyalty, tough love and inspiration to his brother Joe from childhood in Brooklyn to world championship glory in the Bronx, died Saturday. He was 82 and had been living with a transplanted heart for 18 years.

Though he was nine years older, Frank Torre, who broke into the majors with the Milwaukee Braves in 1956, served as a mentor to his younger brother growing up on Avenue T in Brooklyn, and later as a father figure after their parents split up. It was Frank Torre who realized his not-so-little little brother, who had ballooned to 240 pounds with a 40-inch waist by the time he was a junior as third baseman, first baseman and pitcher at St. Francis Prep, was in danger of eating himself right out of a promising baseball career, not to mention a long life. “You’re a fat slob,” Frank chided him. “With all that blubber, you’ll never become a big leaguer. You’re too fat to be anything but a catcher. Better quit fooling around with pitching and playing the infield. Buy yourself a catcher’s mask and go on a diet.”

Young Joe did precisely that, and two years later, Honey Russell, the same Braves scout who had signed Frank in 1951, came to the Torre house on Avenue T armed with a contract to sign Joe, who, at the time, was mulling a scholarship offer to St. John’s. This time Frank served as Joe’s unofficial agent, turning down Russell’s initial bonus offer of $24,000 while citing the value of Joe’s scholarship offer to St. John’s. “C’mon, Honey,” Frank said, “you can do better than that.” Eventually, they compromised on $26,000.

Joe’s rise through the Braves’ minor league system was meteoric and he was summoned to the big leagues at age 20 from Triple-A Louisville in mid-May of 1961 after their longtime first string catcher, Del Crandall, suffered an arm injury. He just missed out on being a teammate of Frank’s, who, after four seasons as the Braves’ first baseman, was sent back to Louisville in 1960 and, a year later, sold to the Phillies.

Frank Torre hit over .300 in three of four minor league seasons before the Braves promoted him to the big leagues in 1956. In 1957, Frank took over as the Braves’ regular first baseman when Joe Adcock, the incumbent, broke his leg in June. In 129 games in ’57, Frank hit .272 with five homers and 40 RBI and then wound up playing an instrumental role in the Braves’ World Series upset of the Yankees, hitting .300 with a pair of homers and three RBI in the seven games. The following season when the Braves repeated as NL champs, only to lose to the Yankees (who came back from a 3-1 deficit) in the World Series, Frank hit a career-high .309 with six homers and 55 RBI.

Though a superior defensive first baseman, the Braves felt Frank simply didn’t hit enough at a position which, customarily, required power and by 1960 he was back in the minors. After being purchased by the Phillies in December of ’61, he hit .310 with no homers in 108 games in ’62 before finishing his career with them in 1963. In 714 games over six-plus major league seasons, he hit .273 with 13 homers.
Exported.; Linda Cataffo/New York Daily News Frank Torre cheers on his younger brother's Yankees during Game 4 of the 2001 World Series.

After retiring from baseball, Frank went to work as an executive with the Rawlings Sporting Goods Co. and later served as vice president of the Baseball Assistance Team (BAT).

It was in the fall of 1995 when Joe Torre called his brother and asked him for his advice. It seemed Joe had been interviewed for the Yankees’ general manager job, but now, he’d heard, he was being considered for their manager’s position. Citing Yankee owner George Steinbrenner’s propensity for firing managers, Frank’s advice was, well, frank: “You’re crazy to take the job,” he said.

But as Joe, who’d never been to a World Series as a player or a manager, recounted in his speech on the Yankees’ day in his honor, on August 23, that was one of the few times in his life he failed to heed his brother. “My brother Frank said I was crazy to take this job but he’d been in the World Series two straight years, which I had to watch from the outside as a teenager. So this is all his fault.”

Joe went on to win the world championship in his first season as Yankee manager in 1996, but along the way, Frank Torre’s health began deteriorating and he learned he was going to have to get a heart transplant.

“I was there when Frank needed the heart transplant; I was in Cleveland that day when they found out,” Joe Girardi said. “I worked with Frank with B.A.T. and he was a wonderful man. My heart goes out to the Torre family.”

Earlier that season, they had both been shattered when their oldest brother, Rocco, died suddenly of a heart attack at his home while watching a Yankee game on TV. After waiting for the right donor for nearly two and half months at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, his condition becoming increasingly grave, Frank finally got his new heart on October 25, from a 25-year old Bronx man who had died of an unexplained brain injury.

Said Dr. Mehmet Oz, who performed the surgery along with Bronx-born surgeon Eric Rose: “I thank (the donor’s family) from the bottom of my heart. Frank Torre was going to die.”

“I just got through playing my own World Series,” Frank said after the operation. “My dream has come true. I guess my brother and I are running on the same paths right now as it looks like he’s got a helluva chance for his dream to come true, too.”

The next night, Frank watched his younger brother’s dream come true on TV from his hospital bed as Joe’s Yankees finished off a six-game World Series triumph over the Atlanta Braves at Yankee Stadium, just like in 1958, when the Yankees came back from a 0-2 deficit to beat Frank Torre’s Milwaukee Braves in the Series. “Every time I started feeling nervous,” said Joe, “I thought about Frank, which brought a smile to my face. He was my inspiration.”

In 2006, Frank Torre had another major health scare when his kidneys began failing as a result of the medication he was taking for his heart. Once again, he was in need of an organ transplant and in 2007 he received a new kidney from his daughter, Elizabeth. Through it all, he remained his younger brother’s biggest supporter. When Joe Torre’s relationship with Steinbrenner began to get strained after the Yankees stopped winning championships every year, Frank never failed to speak out in response to the Boss’ criticisms of his brother. A particularly stinging rebuke of The Boss by Frank was in 2005, after the Yankees’ elimination by the Angels. Steinbrenner had pointedly congratulated Angels manager Mike Scioscia and inferred he had out-managed Joe.

“Sit down in a room with him,” Frank told reporters. “If you’ve got complaints with him and you’re unhappy with him and you don’t want him to manage, work that out. Be face-to-face and upfront with my brother.” He then added: “If you don’t think that that was a shot not only at Joe, but the whole Yankee organization…if I was some player who busted my ass even if I lost it would bother me, too. It doesn’t make sense to do that. The backstabbing and all the behind-the-scenes junk that goes on only hurts the organization. It’s almost like people cheering that they don’t do well.”

“Frank taught me everything about baseball,” Joe said in “Chasing the Dream,” his 1997 memoir, “especially how to be a professional.” When the 1996 World Series was over and Steinbrenner asked Torre to help design the championship ring, Joe insisted the words ‘Courage. Tradition. Heart’ be inscribed on it. “It was for the connection my team shared with my two brothers,” he said. “Rocco, how he died, and Frank, how he lives.”

George E. Spencer

Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Sept. 14, 2014

George E. Spencer, age 88, passed away peacefully on September 10, 2014. Preceded in death by his parents Irvin B. and Ethel (Elwell) Spencer, sister Sally (Spencer) Jordan and two infant sons. He is survived by his beloved wife of sixty-eight years, Billie; daughters, Jackie and Lynne; son, Greg and daughter-in-law, Sandy; grandsons, Eric and Bryan; and several nieces.

Born in Bexley, Ohio on July 7, 1926, George graduated from Bexley High School in 1944. He immediately enlisted in the United States Navy, training at the Great Lakes Naval Station where he also played football for Coach Paul Brown. He served in WWII in the Pacific Theatre.

Upon his return, George married his high school sweetheart, Billie Eisele. He attended The Ohio State University where he quarterbacked the football team and pitched for the Buckeye baseball team.

In 1947, George signed his first Major League Baseball contract with the New York Giants. His career was highlighted by helping the Giants defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1951 National League Pennant race, followed by the World Series against the New York Yankees.

In addition to the New York Giants, his seventeen-year playing career as primarily a relief pitcher included time with the Detroit Tigers and a number of minor league teams including the Columbus Jets. George's final years in baseball were spent as a pitching coach for the Detroit Tigers' and Cincinnati Reds' minor league teams and the Ohio State Buckeyes.

In retirement, he managed the Dollar Federal baseball team in the Columbus Night League in the early 1970's as well as the Lancaster Scouts in the Frontier League in 1994. He was also employed by United McGill Corporation and was a member of Sheet Metal Workers Union, Local 98 for twenty-two years.

George remained an avid sports fan all of his life, following Major League Baseball and his beloved Buckeyes. He was proud to have been honored by the Columbus Clippers in Huntington Park.

George remained close friends with his high school buddies all of his life. He enjoyed warm, summer days on the golf course with his son and friends. George especially loved Sunday dinners with his wife and family, laughing and teasing with his daughters and daughter-in-law. His pride and joy were his grandsons, Eric and Bryan.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in George's memory to the Nationwide Children's Hospital or the Coach Carlton Smith Scholarship Fund, c/o Bexley High School, Bexley, Ohio.

A service to celebrate George's life will be held on Tuesday, September 23, 2014, at Forest Lawn Chapel, Forest Lawn Memorial Garden, 5600 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio.

The family will receive friends at 1 p.m. with the service beginning at 2 p.m. Interment will be at a later date.


Holland native George Zuverink, ex-MLB pitcher, dies at 90

By Michael.Appelgate
HollandSentinel.com
September 8, 2014 5:40 pm


George Zuverink, a Holland native who pitched in Major League Baseball for parts of eight seasons from 1951-1959, died Monday morning. He was 90.

His wife, Betty, said by phone from her Tempe, Ariz., home Monday afternoon, Zuverink died of complications after fracturing his hip in May. He dislocated it two weeks ago then had pneumonia, she said.

Zuverink was born August 20, 1924, in Holland. He graduated from Holland High School in 1942 then spent three years in the Air Force in the South Pacific. Zuverink played occasional baseball games while serving and was noticed by another airman, who was affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Following his discharge, Zuverink signed a minor league contract with St. Louis, but was released at the end of the 1946 season.
Pitching for the Holland Flying Dutchmen — a semi-pro baseball team — in 1947, Zuverink was unbeaten, recording 13 consecutive victories. In 1948 he signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians, reaching the big leagues in 1951.

Zuverink was 32-36 in his career with four teams — including the Detroit Tigers from 1954-1955 — with a 3.54 earned run average. He appeared in a career-high 62 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 1956 and had 16 saves. Zuverink appeared in 256 total games and started 31.

He also went 9-13 with the Tigers in 1954 and had a 3.59 ERA with 70 strikeouts.

Zuverink’s career ended when he was released by the Orioles in 1959 as he suffered from a shoulder injury.

He and Betty moved to Arizona two years after his baseball career to get away from Michigan’s harsh winters.

George worked in the insurance field after baseball and also was a high school and college baseball and basketball referee.

Zuverink was inducted into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.



Roger McKee


Published in Shelby Star on Sept. 3, 2014

Shelby- Roger Hornsby McKee, age 88, a former Major League Baseball player and sport enthusiast passed away Sept. 1, 2014, at Cleveland Regional Medical Center. Born on Sept, 16, 1926, he was the son of the late Broadus Lee and Gertie Spencer McKee.
He graduated from Shelby High School and attended Southern Business College and Gardner-Webb University. He served in the U. S. Navy in the Pacific and participated in the funeral for FDR.

Roger was a well-known athlete. He pitched baseball for Shelby High School. He led the local American Legion Team to Shelby's first State Championship. He signed a professional contract with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1943 at the age of 16. He appeared as a relief pitcher in several games and shortly after turning 17 he pitched and won a complete game. He holds the record as the youngest winning pitcher in modern baseball. He played pro ball for 14 years. Later Roger served on the baseball coaching staff at Shelby High School and the American Legion team. In 2009 the Philadelphia Phillies honored Roger during the Phillies Alumni weekend.

He retired from the U.S. Postal service after 30 years. Roger served on the Board of Directors for Gardner-Webb University Bulldog Club and the Shelby Parks and Recreational Board. He was a member of First Baptist Church and the Chris White Sunday School Class.

In addition to his parents, Roger is preceded in death by a brother, Bill McKee and a sister Margie McKee Gettys.

Roger is survived by his wife of 70 years, Denice Spangler McKee; a son, Roger McKee, Jr. and wife Barbara of Shelby; a sister, Elissa Bright and husband Glenn of Shelby; two grandsons, Bradford D. McKee and wife Michelle, and Brian P. McKee; and one great grandson, Isaac James McKee.

Visitation: The family will receive friends on Thursday at Cecil M. Burton Funeral Home and Crematory from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. and other times at the home.

Funeral Service: 11 a.m. Friday Sept. 5, 2014, in the Sanctuary of First Baptist Church, with Military Honors.

Officiated By: Rev. Perry Holleman.

Burial: Burial will follow at Double Shoals Baptist Church.

Funeral Home: Cecil M Burton Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the family.

Memorials: Memorials can be made to First Baptist Church 120 N Lafayette St, Shelby, N.C. 28150 or Roger McKee Baseball Scholarship, GWU Attention Becky Robbins, P.O. Box 997, Boiling Springs N.C. 28017.


Richard L. Teed

1926 - 2014

Published in The Hartford Courant on Aug. 20, 2014

Richard L. Teed, 88, of Windsor, beloved husband of the late Virginia (LaBounty) Teed, passed away on Sunday, August 17, 2014 in Newport, Rhode Island.

Dick was born March 8, 1926 in Springfield, MA to the late Leroy and Alice (Lamb) Teed. A lifelong Windsor resident, Dick had been a member of the Wilson Congregational Church. He served his country honorably during World War II with the United States Marine Corps.

Baseball was always a part of Dick's life and he played with some of the greats, including, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson and Tommy Lasorda to name a few.

After his discharge in 1947 he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization and in 1953 he was called up to play with the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1961 he was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies where he coached with manager, Frank Lucchesi.

From 1964-67 he managed in the Phillies organization and in 1968 became a scout for the Phillies. In 1977 he rejoined the Dodgers, now in Los Angeles, as Head Scout for the Northeast Region and remained with them until his retirement in 1994.

In 2001 Dick was inducted into the National Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame at Camden Yards, Baltimore. He was also an inductee to the Windsor High School Hall of Fame. One of Dick's favorite things was teaching young people the sport of baseball.

He is survived by his children, Sharon Johnson and her husband Stephen of Windsor Locks; Susan Johnson and her husband David of Old Lyme; Sandra Stevens of Granville, MA; his brothers, Robert Teed and his wife Ann of Myrtle Beach, SC; William Teed and his wife Carol of Enfield; ten grandchildren, Kelley Barnowski and Ryan Glastein, Bryan Barnowski, Todd Johnson and his wife Sharon, Kate Stopa and her husband Travis, Scott Johnson and his wife Lisa, Lindsey Jones and her husband Paul, Brittany Johnson, Kari Mullins and her husband Chris, Stephanie Johnson and Mark McDonald, Haley Johnson and Collin Henry. He also leaves five great grandchildren, Paige, Parker, Whitney, Tucker and Gavin.

In addition to his wife and parents he was predeceased by his daughter, Shelley Teed and his son-in-law, Steve Stevens.

A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, August 22, 11 a.m. at the Carmon Windsor Funeral Home, 807 Bloomfield Ave., Windsor.

Burial with military honors will immediately follow in Windsor Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

His family will receive friends on Thursday, August 21, from 4-7 p.m. at the funeral home.

Donations in Dick's memory may be made to the Dick Teed Scholarship Foundation, c/o Webster Bank, 176 Broad St., Windsor CT 06095.


Former big-leaguer Jerry Lumpe dies at 81

Kary Booher, News-Leader 9:32 p.m. CDT August 16, 2014

Former big-leaguer Jerry Lumpe, a longtime Springfield resident who was a teammate of New York Yankees great Mickey Mantle after aiding then-Southwest Missouri State College win NAIA national basketball titles, has died. He was 81.

He is survived by his wife, Vivian; their three children, Jerry, Jim and Cece Haden; and several grandchildren.

Lumpe graduated from Warsaw, a small community near what is now Truman Lake, and went on to play 12 seasons in the American League. He played three seasons for the Yankees, from 1956 and 1958, when legendary Casey Stengel managed the club.

"We played American Legion ball against each other. We've been good friends, his family and my family," said former Missouri State basketball coach Bill Thomas, a basketball teammate in the 1950s. "I don't know of anyone who didn't like him. I'm going to miss him."

Lumpe, an infielder, reached the major leagues in 1956, two years after putting his minor league days on hold in order to serve in the military. At one point, he was stationed with future St. Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog at Fort Leonard Wood.

Lumpe's baseball career took off when Stengel ordered Lumpe and Norm Siebern to spring training in 1953, Thomas said. Both players were letterwinners on then-SMS' 1952 and 1953 national championship teams. Lumpe had been signed by legendary Yankees scout Tom Greenwade, the Willard man who also signed Mantle.

"By the time we got to Kansas City to play for the national tournament, coach (Bob) Vanatta called Casey Stengel and said, 'I'd like to keep Jerry awhile,'" Thomas said Saturday. "Casey said, 'You can keep him for a couple of games but we need him down here.'"

The 1953 team beat Indiana State for the championship despite all but four Bears fouling out. A chant "Four Bears cut down five Sycamores" was a popular saying in town, former Missouri State baseball coach and athletic director Bill Rowe said.

Lumpe was the Bears' sixth man on those teams.

"He was a heck of a basketball player. He was as good as anybody on our team," Thomas said. "It's just the way the rotation went that he was on the bench."

Lumpe soon was part of the Yankees' AL pennant winners of 1957 and 1958. The '58 team won the World Series with a roster that included included Yogi Berra, Mantle, Hank Bauer, Whitey Ford, Don Larsen, Elston Howard, Bobby Richardson and Enos Slaughter.

Lumpe split the 1959 season between the Yankees and Kansas City Athletics and played for the A's until 1963. Lumpe finished his career with the Detroit Tigers.

Overall, he batted .268 with 190 doubles, 52 triples, 47 home runs and 454 RBIs. His best season was 1962 in Kansas City, where Lumpe hit .301 and generated 54 extra-base hits and 83 RBIs. He also finished his career with more walks (428) than strikeouts (411).

He made his home for years in Springfield and was a longtime supporter of Bears athletics.

"Tough, tough news," former Missouri State baseball coach and athletic director Bill Rowe said Saturday of Lumpe's death.

Rowe said Lumpe and players from the 1952 and 1953 basketball teams made his job even easier.

"We've had the 40th, 50th and 60th anniversaries of those NAIA teams and I'll never forget the way I got treated. It was like, 'You're a part of us,'" said Rowe, who had watched those teams as a youth from Marionville.

"He's one of the best people we've ever known. He'd do anything for you if wanted it," longtime Springfield resident and former big-leaguer Bill Virdon said of Lumpe on Saturday.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Grand Rapids Hall of Fame athlete Jim Command dies at 85

By Jonathan Van Zytveld
MLive.com
August 12, 2014 at 2:03 PM


GRAND RAPIDS, MI — On Aug. 10, 2014, Jim Command Sr. died of natural causes, following a life of baseball, family and honor.

Born Oct. 15, 1928 in Grand Rapids, James Dalton Command soon acquired a love of sports from his father, Ike, who was a top-flight minor league baseball player, as well as an amateur boxer.

A graduate of Creston High School's Class of 1947, Command made a name for himself at Ferris, where he played basketball for one season, leading the league in scoring and setting the Ferris single season scoring record at that time before signing a professional baseball contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Command's first hit in the major leagues was a grand slam homer, the first and last home run of his major league career, off a throw from Dodgers’ pitching great Carl Erskine in July 1954. The hit flew over the head of Jackie Robinson, who was playing right field, soaring over the wall of Ebbets Field.

It marked the first time since the turn of the century that a major league player’s first hit was a grand slam homer.

The event was significant enough that Erskine recalled it years later when meeting Command's son, Tim, at a luncheon in Anderson, Ind., where Erskine lives.

“When we parted ways, he left me an autographed baseball,” Tim Command told the Grand Rapids Press in 2009. “It was signed: ‘To Tim, I did survive the Grand Slam your Dad hit off me in 1954 — #17 — Carl Erskine.’"

Following his major league career, Command went on to a successful minor league career, playing alongside some of the greats and even catching a few pitches from Satchel Paige.

"He had some incredible stories about all those years, playing against many of the great teams and players of that era, including Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Bob Gibson," Tim Command said.

Throughout Command's 14-year professional baseball career, Tim said his father always returned to Grand Rapids, his lifelong home. In the offseason, Command worked as a salesman at Sullivan's Carpet and Furniture for almost 60 years.

Command scouted for the Detroit Tigers for 34 years, from 1960 to 1994, recruiting the likes of Kirk Gibson and Grand Rapids athletes Mickey Stanley and Dave Rozema. He contributed to two world championship teams and received a world series ring in 1984.

He also coached baseball at Grand Valley State University for three seasons in the 1970s, leading the Lakers to their first conference championship in any sport.

He was inducted into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.

Bob Sullivan, Grand Rapids baseball and business icon, a 1976 Hall of Fame inductee, worked, played and scouted alongside Command for decades.

"There was no better person than Jim," Sullivan said. "He was a great person and I couldn't say a single bad thing about him. Everything he did was just lovable."

Sullivan said Command called him weekly to talk and discuss baseball.

"Myself, my family and all my employees will miss him, if nothing else for his conversations," Sullivan said.

Command is preceded in death by his wife, Paula. Surviving him are his seven children: sons Jim Jr., Mike, Paul, Ted and Tim; and daughters Judy and Meredith Daniel; as well as 16 grandchildren.

"He was an amazing father, as well as a loving husband and grandfather," Tim Command said.

"The best thing I can say of him was that I never heard anyone say a negative thing about him in his entire life, and I'm not sure how many people can say that."

Visitation will be on Friday, 2-4 p.m. 6-8 p.m., at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Funeral Home, 3980 Cascade Road SE. The funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. at St. Alphonsus Parish, 224 Carrier St. NE. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the St. Alphonsus food pantry.



Robert G. Wiesler
August 13, 1930 - August 10, 2014

Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Aug. 12, 2014

Wiesler, Robert G., Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. Baptized into the Hope of Christ's Resurrection.

Beloved husband of the late Irene M. Wiesler (nee Grossmann). Dear father of Vickie (Doug) Buehler, Robert, Kevin (Jill) and Karen Wiesler; dear grandfather of Joshua, Jennifer, Cory, John, Sam and Marc. dear great grandfather of Reagan; dear brother, uncle, cousin and friend.

Funeral from Hutchens Mortuary, 675 Graham Rd., Florissant 9:15 AM, Thursday, Aug, 14 to St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church for 10 AM Mass.

Interment Calvary Cemetery.

Visitation 3-9 PM, Wed., Aug. 13 at Hutchens Mortuary.

In lieu of flowers, contributions to the American Heart Assoc. or American Diabetes Assoc.

UW legend Robert 'Red' Wilson dies at age 85

By Dennis Semrau
Wisconsin State Journal
August 08, 2014 6:00 pm

Longtime Madison resident Robert “Red” Wilson, a former University of Wisconsin football and baseball star who went on to success in the major leagues, passed away on Friday morning at Agrace Hospice in Madison. He was 85.

Wilson was a longtime member of the Dug Out Club, which served as booster club for the now-defunct UW baseball program and now promotes baseball at all levels in the Madison area.

Dug Out Club president Tom Bennett notified club members of Wilson's passing in an email early Friday afternoon. Wilson's son, Jim, also a former Badgers baseball player, is an assistant baseball coach at Madison Edgewood High School and a member of the Dug Out Club.

Red Wilson made his major league debut with the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 22, 1951, and played his last game with the Cleveland Indians on Sept. 24, 1960.

Wilson was born in Milwaukee in 1929 and attended UW where he was a star football player for the Badgers. Wilson won Most Valuable Player honor as the center for the Badgers in 1947 and '48. He was also an all-Big Ten Conference center in 1947. In his senior year, 1949, Wilson was the team captain and won the Big Ten Most Valuable Player award as an end.

Wilson also led the Badgers baseball team in batting, hitting .342 and .426 in 1948 and '49, respectively. He led the Badgers to a 17–7 record and a berth in the 1950 College World Series. Wilson graduated from UW in 1951 as an insurance major.

Wilson was selected in the fourth round of the 1950 NFL draft as the 52nd pick overall by the Cleveland Browns, but he elected to play baseball after college. He was signed by the White Sox as an amateur free agent in 1950 and primarily played catcher during his 10-year major league career.

He played in 85 games for the White Sox from 1951 to '53. In May 1954, Wilson was traded to the Detroit Tigers, where he played from 1954 to '60. Wilson ended his career with the Indians in 1960.

Wilson's best season was 1958 when he played in career-high 103 games, had a .299 batting average and a .373 on-base percentage. He also stole 10 bases. On July 20 of that year, he caught Jim Bunning's no-hitter.

He played in 602 major league games, including 580 as a catcher and hit .258. He was selected in 1960 by the expansion Los Angeles Angels but he opted to retire.

After his playing career ended, Wilson was a founder and president of the Westgate Bank in Madison and was president of the Wisconsin Alumni Association from 1971 to 1972.

He was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.

David Lee Bakenhaster

Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Aug. 1, 2014

David Lee Bakenhaster, age 69, of Galena, OH, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. Retired from Exel Logistics after 35 years of service. Graduate of Dublin High School, Class of 1963 where he was an All-State Baseball Pitcher.

David was the #1 overall draft pick in 1963 and enjoyed his 10 year baseball career with the St. Louis Cardinals. Veteran U.S. Army.

Preceded in death by parents James Montford and Lora (Jenkins) Bakenhaster, brothers Paul, Bill and Charlie. Survived by loving wife of 39 years, Kay Harr Bakenhaster; and Dennis "Bo" Bakenhaster his nephew/son.

He will be greatly missed by his sisters, Geneva Hunt and Norma Bricker; brothers, Walter and Ronnie; many nieces and nephews.

Friends may call 6-8 p.m. Friday, August 1, 2014 at Kauber-Sammons Funeral Home, 289 S. Main Street, Pataskala, OH 43062, where Funeral Service will be held 10 a.m. Saturday.

Interment Jersey Universalist Cemetery.

Pastor Gary Kirk officiating.

Contributions may be made to American Cancer Society , 870 Michigan Ave., Columbus, OH 43215 in David's memory.

Former big league ballplayer dies at 86

By Joe Callahan
Ocala.com
Sunday, July 27, 2014 at 5:42 p.m.

Arthur William Schult, a journeyman professional baseball player during the 1950s, died Friday at the Legacy House Hospice on Friday. He was 86.

Known as “Dutch” during his decade run in Major League Baseball, Schult played first base, outfield and pinch hitter for six teams.

He moved to On Top of the World retirement community about two decades ago from Lantana, just north of Miami.

He is survived by three sons: Art, Carmel, N.Y.; Jim, Hopewell Junction, N.Y.; Ray, Stormville, N.Y. He also has five grandchildren. Funeral arrangements have not been finalized.

Schult was first signed by the New York Yankees in 1948. After playing minor league ball for five years, he played seven games in the big leagues with the Yankees in 1953.

He was later traded to the Seattle Pilots in 1955, the Cincinnati Redlegs in 1956, the Washington Senators in 1957, the Boston Red Sox in 1958 and the Chicago Cubs in 1959.

In his entire career, Schult played in 164 major league games, with a career batting average of .264. He had 111 hits — six home runs — in 421 career at-bats.

At age 31, he played his final game on May 27, 1960.

Schult’s nephew, Stephen Molnar of Johnston, Rhode Island, said Sunday that over the years his uncle shared many stories.

“He was very proud of his days in the major leagues,” said Molnar, adding that Schult often played centerfield.

Molnar remembered many of the his uncle’s stories, though his favorite really demonstrates how the profession has changed.

Molnar said in the 1950s, baseball players were not paid very well. In fact, Schult even decided to get a second job one season to make ends meet.

“He actually drove the team bus around the country from game to game,” Molnar said. “They didn’t have the fringe benefits or the salaries they do today.”

One of Modesto’s ‘nice guys’ gone at 82

By Jeff Jardine
The Modesto Bee
July 21, 2014

‘AS NICE A GUY ... ’ – In 1991, I wrote a series of sports stories titled “One-Shot Wonders,” profiling area residents who enjoyed brief moments of glory in their all-too-short professional careers.

Among them was Bill Koski, who starred at Modesto High in 1950 and, at age 19, pitched in 13 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1951. His numbers were what you’d expect from a very young pitcher relying primarily on his blazing fastball: 0-1, with a 6.67 ERA, 28 walks and six strikeouts in 27 innings. He started 1952 back in the minors, but his stuff impressed Pirates’ owner Branch Rickey so much that Rickey tried to recall Koski to the big club that August. Just a few hours after receiving the telegram from Rickey, his mom sent along another – this one telling him he’d been drafted into the Army and needed to report for duty on Aug. 21.

A few months later, he shipped out to Korea, and never achieved his projected success in big-league baseball.

Koski died at 82 in a Modesto hospital 12 days ago, less than a year after the passing of his beloved wife of 60 years, Nancy.

His brother, Jack Koski, recalls that while they were in high school and the teams courted Koski in the days before the baseball draft, scout Floyd “Babe” Herman really wanted Bill’s name on a Pirates contract. So Herman asked one of the team’s co-owners to intervene.

“He had Bing Crosby call our dad,” Jack Koski said.

Herman feared that Crosby’s buddy, Cleveland Indians co-owner Bob Hope, might also make a call. He didn’t. Bill Koski signed with Pittsburgh.

Once, on a train trip in the big leagues, Bill ate a T-bone steak for dinner. Later that night, he got hungry and ate another. So a sports writer along on the trip challenged him to eat a third steak. He did, and his teammates nicknamed him “T-Bone.”

Years later, when Jack looked up Bill’s entry in the Baseball Encyclopedia, he found the listing complete with the nickname: William John Koski ( T-Bone). When I wrote the piece on Bill in 1991, the Baseball Encyclopedia had omitted him from the book entirely that year. The publisher corrected it for the 1992 edition, but his record still doesn’t reflect his three no-decision appearances after he returned from Korea in 1954.

Those games were his last in the majors. He eventually returned to Modesto and became supervisor of drafting in Stanislaus County’s Public Works Department until his retirement in the 1990s. He also spent a decade as the pitching coach at California State University, Stanislaus.

“It’s amazing how many people Bill influenced,” said Bob Heath, a former Modesto High teammate and lifelong friend. “He was as nice a guy as I’ve ever known.”

Agreed.

Tom Veryzer dead, LIer had 12-year career in majors

By Steven Marcus
Newsday.com
July 9, 2014 5:04 PM

Their summers in Islip were spent playing baseball, and the three older Veryzer brothers eventually realized the youngest one, Tom, had the best chance to make it to the major leagues.

The shortstop proved them right with a 12-year career. "The one who did was the one who we thought would," Jerry Veryzer said Wednesday while reminiscing about Tom, who died Tuesday from complications of a stroke.

Veryzer, who lived in Islip, was 61.

Veryzer played with the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Mets and Chicago Cubs. His biggest thrill came his first spring training with the Tigers, his brother recalled. "His first manager was Billy Martin. It was in Lakeland, Florida. Tom was out getting loose, Martin was sitting in the dugout and called Tom over. The next thing he knows he turns to the other side, he's sitting between Martin and Mickey Mantle."

Mantle had been Veryzer's longtime idol and the Yankees were his favorite team, even after he retired and went to work for the Town of Islip's Department of Public Works, his daughter, Jennie, said. "Every day, in the living room watching TV, me and him, my mom, my brother. We were die-hard Yankees fans.''

In his senior year at Islip High School in 1971, Veryzer hit .467 and had five home runs. The Tigers selected him 11th overall in the first round of the amateur draft and he eventually spent five years with the team before Alan Trammell came along to claim shortstop.
Tom Bianco of Sewanhaka High School was the Milwaukee Brewers' third overall pick the same year Veryzer was drafted. He recalled pinch-hitting against the Tigers in 1975 and how Veryzer positioned the Tigers outfield. "From playing against me in school, he told them I'm a line drive hitter to the gap," Bianco said. The Tigers adjusted and Bianco lined out. "At the end of the game I said, 'Thanks a lot, pal.' "

In 1973, Veryzer drove in the last run at the old Yankee Stadium before it was renovated, and in 1975, his two-out double in the ninth inning spoiled a no-hit bid by Ken Holtzman of the Oakland A's. Veryzer also was at shortstop for the Indians on May 15, 1981, when Len Barker pitched his perfect game.
For his big league career, Veryzer hit .241 in 996 games and had a .966 fielding percentage.
Jerry Veryzer thought back to the years when the youngest brother honed his skills on the fields of Long Island, saying, "He played all the time. God gave him a gift. He didn't abuse it or ignore it."

In addition to his daughter, Veryzer is survived by his wife, Vivian; sons Thomas Jr. and William; brothers John and James; and a sister, Pat Goedtel.

Visiting is Thursday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. at Overton Funeral Home, 172 Main St., Islip. A funeral Mass will be offered Friday at 9:45 a.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church in East Islip.


Jim Brosnan, Who Threw Literature a Curve, Dies at 84


By Bruce Weber
The New York Times
July 4, 2014


Jim Brosnan, who achieved modest baseball success as a relief pitcher but gained greater fame and consequence in the game by writing about it, died on June 29 in Park Ridge, Ill. He was 84.

The cause was an infection he developed while recovering from a stroke, his son, Timothy, said.

In 1959, Brosnan, who played nine years in the major leagues, kept a diary of his experience as a pitcher, first with the St. Louis Cardinals and later, after a trade, with the Cincinnati Reds. Published the next year as “The Long Season,” it was a new kind of sportswriting — candid, shrewd and highly literate, more interested in presenting the day-to-day lives and the actual personalities of the men who played the game than in maintaining the fiction of ballplayers as all-American heroes and role models.

Written with a slightly jaundiced eye — but only slightly — the book is often given credit for changing the nature of baseball writing, anticipating the literary reporting of Roger Angell, Roger Kahn and others; setting the stage for “Veeck — as in Wreck,” the vibrant memoir of Bill Veeck, the maverick owner of several teams; and predating by a decade Jim Bouton’s more celebrated, more rambunctious (and more salacious) pitcher’s diary, “Ball Four.”

“The first workout was scheduled for 10 o’clock,” Brosnan wrote, in a typically arch passage, about the first day of spring training. “The clubhouse was filled by 9, and we sat around for an hour, anxious to go. But first came the speeches. Spring training has a convocation ceremony that follows strict patterns all over the baseball world. Manager speaks: ‘Wanna welcome all you fellows; wanna impress on you that you each got a chance to make this ball club.’ (This hypocrisy is always greeted by an indulgent and silent snicker from the veterans of previous training camps.)”

The book created some resentment toward Brosnan within baseball. Joe Garagiola, the broadcaster and former player, called him “a kooky beatnik.” And in 1964, Brosnan, who had by then written a second book and contributed articles to magazines, was forced from the game because he would not sign a contract — he was then with the Chicago White Sox — that stipulated he could not publish any of his writing during the season. But perhaps more remarkable was the reaction to Brosnan outside baseball, where he was portrayed as something of an alien character: an athlete with a brain.

“Traditionally there are two kinds of baseball players — tobacco-chewing, monosyllabic hard rocks and freshly laundered heroes too young to appear in razor-blade commercials,” John Corry wrote in The New York Times, under the headline “No Comic Books for Brosnan.” “Jim Brosnan, a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, is in a third class. He wrote a book about the other two kinds.”

In a long article, The Saturday Evening Post dissected Brosnan’s personality, going into detail about his prickliness and self-absorption as a young player and his history in analysis.

“Brosnan is quite possibly the most intellectual creature ever to put on a major league uniform,” the writer of the article, Al Silverman, declared.

James Patrick Brosnan was born in Cincinnati on Oct. 24, 1929, to parents who, as he would describe them, were unhappy with each other and interested in very different things. His father, John, who worked for a milling machine company, had one interest: baseball. His mother, Rose, was a nurse who introduced her children to literature and music.

As a boy, Jim was a reader, a musician — he played the trombone and, later, the piano — and a ballplayer. He signed a contract with the Chicago Cubs before his 17th birthday, though he had a rocky time of it in the minors — one season he was 4-17 — and did not reach the big leagues until 1954.

Between 1951 and 1953, Brosnan’s career was interrupted by stateside service in the Army, during which he played baseball, tried to write and met the woman who would be his wife.

“I had promised myself that I’d write a book about my Army experiences,” Brosnan wrote in 2001, in an introduction to a new edition of “The Long Season.” “Hemingway did it, didn’t he? Mailer. James Jones. Irwin Shaw. The trouble was this: My only Army experience worth writing about was my honeymoon. ‘Pitcher Marries Pitcher’ should have been the headline when, on June 23, 1952, Anne Stewart Pitcher married Jim Brosnan, pitcher.”

Anne Brosnan died last year. In addition to their son, Brosnan, who lived for more than half a century in Morton Grove, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, is survived by two daughters, Jamie Kruidenier and Kimberlee Brosnan-Myers; a brother, Michael; and four grandchildren.

Brosnan’s career as both a pitcher and a writer took a positive turn when he was traded by the Cubs to the Cardinals in 1958. Goaded by a writer friend, he wrote an article for Sports Illustrated about being traded, and that led to “The Long Season.”

He pitched well in his first year in St. Louis, going 8-4 as both a starter and a reliever. Traded to the Reds in June 1959, he eventually became a full-time reliever and had his best success. His career record was 55-47, with a 3.54 earned run average and 67 saves. (Saves did not become an official statistic until 1969, however.)

In 1961, perhaps his best year, he was 10-4 and saved 16 games for a Reds team that won the National League pennant. His second book was an account of that season, and with the addition of the drama of the pennant race — the book, in fact, was called “Pennant Race” — some critics found it superior to “The Long Season.” Writing in The New York Times Book Review, Arnold Hano, the author of another much-admired baseball book, “A Day in the Bleachers,” called it “one of the best baseball books ever written.”

After his retirement from baseball, Brosnan wrote sports books for children and contributed to many publications, including The Times. But his accomplishment as a writer came to be best recognized after decades of perspective.

“At the dawn of the 1960s the literature of baseball was paltry,” the critic Jonathan Yardley wrote in The Washington Post in 2004. “Some good fiction had been inspired by the game, notably Ring Lardner’s ‘You Know Me Al’ and Bernard Malamud’s ‘The Natural,’ but nonfiction was little more than breathless sports-page reportage: hagiographic biographies of stars written for adolescents (‘Lou Gehrig: Boy of the Sandlots’), as-told-to quickies (‘Player-Manager’ by Lou Boudreau) and once-over-lightly histories of the game (‘The Baseball Story’ by Fred Lieb).

“Then one book changed everything: ‘The Long Season’ by a little-known relief pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds named Jim Brosnan.”

Bobby Castillo dies at 59; former Dodger pitcher taught Valenzuela screwball

The Los Angeles Times
Monday, June 30, 2014


Bobby Castillo, the man who taught Fernando Valenzuela the screwball, helping put into motion one of the most memorable periods in Los Angeles Dodgers' history, died Monday. He was 59.

Castillo, who pitched in the majors for nine years and was a member of the Dodgers' 1981 World Series championship team, died of cancer in a Los Angeles-area hospital, the team announced.

The thick-mustached Castillo had a 38-40 record with a 3.94 earned-run average during his career, all but three years of it spent pitching for his hometown Dodgers.

Robert Ernie Castillo was born April 18, 1955, in Los Angeles. He went to Lincoln High School in Lincoln Heights and was drafted by the Kansas City Royals as a third baseman. Cut by the Royals, the right-hander was pitching in a semipro game in Boyle Heights in 1976 when he had the very good fortune of striking out Mike Brito on a screwball.

The lives of Castillo, Brito, and eventually Valenzuela and the Dodgers, would never be the same.

Brito, a former Mexican league player turned scout, signed Castillo to pitch in the Mexican league, and in a short time Dodgers General Manager Al Campanis signed Brito as a scout and Castillo to pitch. That led to Brito signing Valenzuela out of the Mexican league to the Dodgers.

Campanis wanted Valenzuela to learn a third pitch, so he called on Castillo to teach him the screwball. History was set in motion.

When Valenzuela won the National League Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards in 1981, helping the Dodgers to the title, Castillo was a member of the bullpen.

In 1979, the affable Castillo survived a spring training incident in which he ran his car into a bridge railing at 5 a.m. in Vero Beach, Fla., injuring a leg and incurring the wrath of Manager Tommy Lasorda.

Castillo's finest season with the Dodgers may have been in 1980, when he appeared in 61 games as a reliever, going 8 and 6 with a 2.75 ERA and five saves.

When the Dodgers traded him to the Minnesota Twins in 1982, Castillo said: "It's going to be hard not to put that Dodger uniform on again. They've all been great, even the people in the stands who booed. They booed great."

Castillo spent three years with the Twins but returned to the Dodgers for one final season in 1985. In recent years he had been a member of the Dodgers' community services team.

Castillo is survived by his mother, Nellie; daughters Mellanie and Sara; son Robert III; two grandchildren and his sister, Lorraine.


Former GM Cashen dies at age 88
Was chief architect of 1986 Mets, Orioles powerhouses of late '60s and '70s

By Marty Noble / MLB.com | 6/30/2014 4:18 P.M. ET

A longtime baseball executive whose greatest successes and most unsettling disappointments involved the Mets and Orioles has died. Frank Cashen -- who fancied bow ties, a beer at the bar, a book and The Bard -- is gone. A learned gentleman who oversaw the assembly of the powerful Orioles teams of the 1960s and '70s and the talented Mets teams of the '80s died after a brief illness Monday in Easton, Md., with a legacy of success firmly in place. The Mets said he was 88.

With the Mets, Cashen was one of the last genuine general managers in the game, an executive involved in all phases of franchise operation. He made decisions about marketing, player personnel, ballpark parking, announcers, the food served in the corporate dining room, television and radio contracts, public relations and the length of the infield grass.

Cashen had eclectic interests and knowledge. He was regarded by some as miscast as a sports executive, as if he were overqualified or too cultured for the industry. Others found Cashen to be enjoyable and intriguing company because he was diverse.

"Frank is very bright man, a man for all seasons," the late Bob Mandt, a Mets vice president and himself a member of Mensa, said in the '90s when Cashen was nearing the end of his daily involvement with the club. "You hear about people who know a little bit about everything. Frank knows a lot about many things. I don't know many topics he can't discuss."

Cashen, proud of his Irish-Catholic heritage and devoted to his large family -- seven children -- had a degree in law and experience in journalism and advertising before he moved to baseball. He served Commissioner Bowie Kuhn as administrator for Major League Baseball in 1979 after his successful run with the Orioles and before he was brought aboard to right the Mets in 1980.

"Frank Cashen was one of the greatest executives in our game," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "A true gentleman who had many interests, Frank had a multifaceted career in baseball and beyond. He helped construct some of the best clubs that two of our franchises -- his hometown Baltimore Orioles and the New York Mets -- have ever had. When I was trying to obtain the Brewers franchise, Frank was very supportive, and after we were successful, he remained a friend whose judgment -- on both people and our game -- I always trusted. With great integrity, Frank became a leader in our industry."

Although the Orioles teams Cashen oversaw enjoyed greater overall success than his Mets teams, the public spotlight shone more brightly on him during his time in New York, and not only because of the nature of the larger market. He carried a cumbersome title with the Mets -- general manager, senior vice president and chief operating officer -- and was, in every way, the boss.

The high point of Cashen's tenure in Queens, the runaway success of the 1986 championship team, was a most compelling spectacle that regularly filled Shea Stadium. The Mets came replete with charismatic personalities of differing textures that fascinated the city. They had Ivy Leaguers, family men, comedians, Hawaiians, nocturnal animals, dirt bags, players who had been dirt poor, many of them would-be authors. Moreover, the '86 edition participated in league and World Series championships that remain among the most memorable ever.

"On behalf of all of us at the Mets, we extend our deepest condolences to Jean Cashen and her entire family," Mets chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon said. "Frank Cashen revitalized our franchise when he took over in 1980 as general manager and helped engineer us to a world championship in 1986. I dealt with Frank on a daily basis and he was a man of integrity and great passion. No one had a more diverse career than Frank. He was also a lawyer, sportswriter and marketing executive. His accomplishments will always be an integral part of our team history."

The Mets teams of 1984-90 often made Cashen proud, but occasionally they made him quite uncomfortable, because of the players' general off-field deportment. It flew in the face of the GM's upbringing and values and sometimes was self-destructive. Some of Cashen's Mets footnoted their autographs with the chapter and verse numbers of Biblical scripture. Others wrote the dates of their favorite Playboy or Penthouse editions after their signatures.

Cashen frequently used the phrase, "Just another in paradise." Usually it was said with a sarcastic tone. But he enjoyed much of his time with the Mets and, on occasion, said, "Really ... a day in paradise."

"My players make me shake my head almost every day," Cashen said in 1987 when the team was winning despite the absence of its Nos. 1, 3 and 4 starting pitchers, and despite experiencing serious internal strife. "They seem to enjoy making it difficult for themselves." But the '86 group rose above all of it and produced more on-field brilliance than off-field distraction. It won 108 games in the regular season, equaling the most victories by a National League team -- the 1975 Reds also won 108 -- in 101 years.

That edition of Mets -- the team of Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Ron Darling and Lenny Dykstra -- attained the level of regular-season consistency Cashen had sought when he assumed control of the club. Beginning with 1984, the first year of manager Davey Johnson, and through 1990, when Cashen dismissed Johnson, the Mets averaged 95 victories per season. But other than the '86 run of the table, all the regular-season success led to merely one division championship.

"Frank was our leader," Strawberry said. "I always admired the way he put together our team. He mixed young guys, like me and Doc, with guys like Carter and Hernandez. He was able to find the perfect blend to build a championship."

"Frank was willing to take a chance and jump me from A-ball to the Majors," Gooden said. "That always meant a lot to me. Also, he helped get me my No. 16. Lee Mazzilli had it before, and Frank went to bat for me and said, 'If that's the number Doc wants, let him have it.'"

Cashen, his staff and many of the involved players subsequently have acknowledged that those teams should have achieved more in postseason play. When the 1991 team produced a losing record, Cashen stepped aside to afford his first lieutenant, Al Harazin, an opportunity to run the club. Cashen took the role of consultant and gradually moved to full retirement.

A perception developed that Harazin was not equipped to handle player personnel responsibilities, and it tainted Cashen's image to a degree. But Cashen remained loyal to his protégé as the Mets headed into a period of dreadful performance and more off-field controversy.

The unceremonious breakup of the World Series team and the breakdown of three of its most prominent players -- Hernandez, Carter and Gooden -- also tarnished Cashen's Mets resume, somehow, as did the trading of Dykstra (a move Johnson favored), Wally Backman and Mookie Wilson, and to a lesser degree, the departure of Strawberry via free agency and the club's reliance on skilled but ostracized Gregg Jefferies.

Cashen regarded the free-agent market as "an auction of mediocrity" and never shopped there, a practice the public came to question when the team's fortunes slipped. But the trades that imported Hernandez, Carter, Darling, David Cone, Howard Johnson, Bobby Ojeda, Kevin McReynolds, Sid Fernandez and Frank Viola, the development of Strawberry, Gooden, Dykstra, Jefferies, Kevin Mitchell, Dave Magadan, Rick Aguilera, Roger McDowell and Kevin Tapani, along with all the winning, turned the Mets into a model operation.

After his team had come so close to winning the National East in 1985, Cashen properly assessed the Mets' needs -- a right-handed-hitting second baseman and a left-handed starter. Without damaging the farm system, he traded for Tim Teufel to platoon with Backman at second and Ojeda, who won 18 games in '86 and added to the Mets grit.

"He was by far the smartest baseball man I've ever been in contact with," Ojeda said. "What the players loved about him was he cared more about you as a person than what you did on the baseball field."

Until the Mets' fall in 1991, Cashen's only unforgiven failing was his decision not to protect Tom Seaver from the free-agent compensation pool following the 1983 return of "The Franchise." And Cashen called his deal to import outfielder Ellis Valentine from Montreal for pitcher Jeff Reardon "short-sighted and unsuccessful."

Even with the warts that developed in that seven-season sequence, Cashen's administration was the most successful era in Mets history, and he unquestionably was the primarily architect. "No one else," owner Nelson Doubleday said in 1986. "No ifs, ands or buts."

Doubleday purchased 88 1/2 percent of the club in early 1980 and almost immediately hired Cashen. He interviewed no one else after receiving an unsolicited endorsement from Orioles owner Jerry Hoffberger, who had brought Cashen into baseball in 1966. The O's played in four World Series, winning two, in Cashen's first six years. They won two more American League East championships, in 1973 and '74, before Cashen returned to work as senior vice president of marketing and sales at Hoffberger's brewery.

"The Orioles were saddened to learn today of the passing of Frank Cashen," the Orioles said in a statement. "Frank served the Orioles as executive vice president from 1965 to 1975 during the team's most successful on-field era, winning two World Series championships, four American League pennants, and five AL East titles. ... The Orioles organization extends its sympathies to his wife, Jean, their seven children, and many grandchildren."

Many regarded the Orioles of 1969-73 to be the game's elite team. A third World Series championship during that five-year sequence would have eliminated all thought to the contrary. The Series the O's were supposed to have won -- and didn't -- was in 1969, when the upstart Mets, fueled by dominant young pitchers, as the Orioles had been in 1966, denied Cashen's team in five games.

The stunning result left Cashen with scabs that he would playfully pick during his 11 years with the Mets. Sometimes his lamenting 1969 was not so playful. "I thought we [the Orioles] were the better team," Cashen said in the summer of 2010 when he was inducted into the Mets' Hall of Fame. "I guess that's why they were the Miracle Mets."

Cashen had some isolated detractors or at least people who were unwilling to attribute the Orioles' and Mets' successes to him exclusively. Their claim was that other executives -- Harry Dalton and Lou Gorman, respectively -- were more responsible for the heralded trades that brought Hall of Famer Frank Robinson to the O's in 1966 and Darling to the Mets in 1983. Moreover, Joe McIlvaine, another of Cashen's primary lieutenants, was the evaluator who pushed for and helped engineer the deals that imported Howard Johnson, Cone, Ojeda and McReynolds to the Mets.

Dalton was responsible for the Robinson trade, but the deals that built the Mets were made by men Cashen hired -- and trusted -- and Cashen was responsible for the deals for Hernandez and Carter.

Cashen hired well. Gorman had been the Mariners general manager; and after he left the Mets, he served in that capacity for the Red Sox. Harazin (Mets) and McIlvaine (Padres and Mets) became general managers. Gerry Hunsicker, later the Astros GM, worked for Cashen. Cashen also tutored John Schuerholz when both were with the Orioles. Schuerholz, of course, went on to great success as the general manager of the Royals and Braves.

"I had dinner with Frank every spring ever since I came back with the Mets," said Wally Backman, manager of the Mets' Triple-A team in Las Vegas. "He was a great baseball man. I liked to bounce ideas off of him. He was one of a kind."

Cashen was born in Baltimore in 1922. He developed an affection for baseball, but after playing second base at Loyola College of Maryland, he had no sense that his life would move toward the game. Cashen worked for 17 years writing sports for the Baltimore News-American before he was hired by Hoffberger to be the publicity director for two racetracks in Baltimore. While Cashen was with the newspaper, he found it wise to wear bow ties while he was working in the shop rather than wear long ties that might drag through ink on "hot type."

Cashen wrote until the end, recently completing a book that is due to be published in September.

"I'd found out early in my career what had led to the phrase 'ink-stained wretches,'" he explained in 1980.

He was characterized by reporters covering his teams as "a great guy to have a beer with." But as a baseball executive, he kept most media members at arm's length, often qualifying the most benign statement with, "Off the record, by way of background."

Cashen was a cultured man who listed Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill and St. John the Baptist as the people he'd choose for a dinner table of five. He routinely greeted groups of men with "Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen," or, borrowing from Stan Musial, "Whaddyasay, whaddyasay, whaddyasay."

Cashen was not a big man. After the Mets had re-signed country-singing second baseman Doug Flynn in 1980, Flynn performed at a bar in lower Manhattan. Cashen attended and tried on a western hat. The description "pint-sized man in a 10-gallon hat" published the following day didn't delight him then or 25 years later.

Cashen had no Napoleonic complex, but wasn't fond of being called "Little Frank" when 6-foot-8 Frank Howard worked for the Mets as a coach and manager.

What Cashen lacked in size he readily compensated for with knowledge, wisdom, temperance and a sense of what was proper. Few men of any size cast a larger and more positive shadow on the Mets' fortunes.


William Beneditto Renna
Oct 14, 1924 - June 19, 2014

Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on July 18, 2014


Resident of San Jose
Bill was born to Christina and William Renna, in Hanford, CA. He graduated from Hanford Union High School in 1942, and attended USF before joining the Marine Corps and serving in the South Pacific.

Upon his return, Bill attended Menlo College before transferring to Santa Clara University in 1947. He was an outstanding athlete, playing both football and baseball, and played in the East-West Shrine game in 1949. He also was selected for the All-American Baseball team that year. Bill later was inducted into the Santa Clara University Hall of Fame. He met his future wife Leronne (Roni) Richards, a student nurse at St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco, as he was finishing his college career.

Bill began his professional baseball career in June 1949, signing with the New York Yankees, and was on the 1953 World Series team. Bill continued his professional baseball career by playing for the Philadelphia A's, the Kansas City A's, the San Francisco Seals (Pacific Coast League Champions), and the Boston Red Sox. He then worked in sales management in the Bay Area. Bill retired in 1990 to enjoy traveling with his wife, family and friends, and relaxing at their cabin and camp in the Sierra's. His double ringers were a common occurrence at the horseshoe pit and he was in great demand as a partner for tournaments.

Bill leaves his wife of 61 years, Roni, his children Barry Renna (Julie), Mari Renna, Jan Caster (Jeff), three grandchildren and one great grandchild. Bill was a special husband, the best dad, and a great friend to everyone. He truly will be missed by all. A Memorial Service will be held on August 8th at 2:00 PM at Mission Santa Clara Church. A reception will follow.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite charity.



Tony Gwynn, Hall of Fame Batting Champion, Dies at 54 of Cancer


By Richard Goldstein
The New York Times
Monday, June 16, 2014

Tony Gwynn, who won a record eight National League batting championships, amassed 3,141 hits and gained acclaim as one of baseball’s most passionate students of the art of hitting, died on Monday in Poway, Calif. He was 54.

His death was announced by Major League Baseball.

Gwynn had surgery for cancer of the mouth and salivary glands in recent years and had been on medical leave as the baseball coach at San Diego State University, his alma mater. He attributed the cancer to having dipped tobacco throughout his career.

Playing all 20 of his major league seasons with the often lackluster San Diego Padres, in one of baseball’s lesser media markets, and usually shunning home run swings in favor of well-struck hits, Gwynn was not one of baseball’s more charismatic figures. And his pudgy 5-foot-11, 215-pound frame (give or take a few pounds) did not evoke streamlined athleticism.

He simply possessed a brilliant consistency with his left-handed batting stroke, compiling a career batting average of .338. He was also a Gold Glove-winning outfielder and an outstanding base stealer before knee injuries took their toll.

Gwynn, a 15-time All-Star, entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007 after garnering 97.6 percent of sportswriters’ votes in his first year of eligibility. Some 75,000 fans turned out at Cooperstown when he was inducted along with Cal Ripken Jr., who played all 21 of his seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, most of them at shortstop, on the way to breaking Lou Gehrig’s streak of consecutive games played.

When Gwynn was closing in on his 3,000th hit, he recalled his major league debut on July 19, 1982, when the Padres were playing at home against the Philadelphia Phillies. In his fourth at-bat, he hit a liner to left-center field. As he headed to second base, he passed Pete Rose, Philadelphia’s first baseman, who became baseball’s career hits leader.

“Rose is trailing the play,” Gwynn told The New York Times. “They flash on the board, ‘Tony Gwynn’s first big-league hit.’ He shook my hand and congratulated me and said, ‘Don’t catch me after one night.’ I thought, boy, wouldn’t it be great to have a career like his, to be able to do some of the things that he was able to do?”

Two years later, Gwynn captured his first batting championship, hitting .351. He also stole 33 bases and struck out only 23 times in 606 at-bats that season, propelling the Padres to their first pennant. They lost to the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.

The Padres’ hitting coach that season, Deacon Jones, marveled at Gwynn’s bat control. “He’ll get some funky hits and then he’ll hit a line drive that you could hang three weeks’ wash on,” Jones told The Times. “There isn’t a pitcher in the league who wants Tony Gwynn up with a runner on third base. You know he’ll make contact.”

Gwynn struck out only 434 times in his career. Only one pitcher ever struck him out three times in a game: Bob Welch, pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers, on April 14, 1986. (Welch died on June 9.)

Continue reading the main story
Gwynn was hitting .394 in the summer of 1994, with a chance to become baseball’s first .400 hitter since Ted Williams batted .406 for the 1941 Boston Red Sox, when a players strike ended the season on Aug. 12. He settled for achieving the N.L.’s highest batting average since Bill Terry hit .401 for the New York Giants in 1930.

Gwynn’s obsession with the elements of a baseball swing began when he played for San Diego State and read Williams’s 1971 book, “The Science of Hitting.”

Williams invited Gwynn to discuss hitting at his museum in Florida after the 1994 season and suggested he drive the ball more, but Gwynn was reluctant to tamper with his approach.

Gwynn took endless hours of extra batting practice and used video extensively before that became common in baseball. In his second season he had his wife, Alicia, taped his at-bats off television on trips in hopes of correcting a slump. Through the years his taping grew more sophisticated, and he edited the tapes into segments showing good and bad at-bats.

“If there are bad at-bats on the tapes, I just click them out,” he told Sports Illustrated in 1995. “You don’t want to watch yourself looking like an idiot, waving at some curveball.”

Trevor Hoffman, the former star relief pitcher and Gwynn’s longtime teammate, told U-T San Diego on Monday, “He revolutionized video in baseball.”

Gwynn hit .321 in 1998, when the Padres won their second pennant, and .500 in the World Series, with a home run at Yankee Stadium. But the Padres were swept by the Yankees in four games.

On the 64th birthday of his mother, Vendella, he collected his 3,000th hit, against the Expos in Montreal on Aug. 6, 1999. After he was hugged by teammates and even the first-base umpire, Kerwin Danley, his former teammate at San Diego State, his mother came onto the field and embraced him. He had celebrated her 58th birthday with his 2,000th hit.

Gwynn credited his mother and his father, Charles, a warehouse worker who also coached Little League baseball, with forging his work ethic.

“I think my parents gave it to me,” he was quoted by George Will in “Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball” (1990), recalling how his mother approached her job as a postal worker.

“She wanted to be prepared,” he said. “She’d give me the test she had to take and I’d read off the streets and she’d tell me where they connect or whatever. I think it rubbed off.”

Anthony Keith Gwynn was born on May 9, 1960, in Los Angeles. His family moved to Long Beach when he was 9. He was recruited by San Diego State as a basketball point guard and became an outstanding playmaker there, but he was also an all-American outfielder and was selected by the Padres in the third round of the 1981 baseball draft.

Gwynn shared with Honus Wagner the record of eight N.L. batting championships, a total exceeded only by Ty Cobb’s 12 American League titles. Gwynn won five Gold Glove awards, playing mostly in right field, and stole 319 bases. But he hit only 135 home runs, and the most he ever hit in a season was 17, in 1997. He drove in 119 runs that season, the only time he exceeded the 100-R.B.I. mark.

After hitting .324 in 2001, his final season, he became the San Diego State baseball coach. He was also a game and studio analyst for ESPN.

In addition to his wife, Gwynn’s survivors include his son, Tony Jr., an outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, his fourth major league team; a daughter, Anisha Nicole Gwynn, a rhythm-and-blues singer; his brother Chris, also an outfielder and his teammate in the last of Chris’s 10 major league seasons; and his brother Charles, a teacher.

Drawing on Gwynn’s jersey number, the Padres list the address of their ball field, Petco Park, as 19 Tony Gwynn Drive. A bronze statue depicting Gwynn swinging was unveiled at the park in 2007. Its plaque reads, “Tony Gwynn, Mr. Padre.”

Gwynn’s love for the low-key atmosphere in San Diego and his devotion to the Padres may have been costly. He shunned free agency in favor of multiyear contracts, and in April 1997, after having won seven batting championships, he signed a three-year contract extension for $12.6 million. In its final season, 104 players earned more than his $4.3 million salary, according to The Times.

But he told The Times during his final season: “Twenty years in one place, one city. It looks good.”


Former Astro Pittman passes away at age 60

By Richard Dean / Special to MLB.com
6/14/2014 10:15 P.M. ET


HOUSTON -- Houston native Joe Pittman, a former player, scout and longtime member of the Astros' organization, has passed away at the age of 60.

An infielder, Pittman was drafted by the Astros in 1975 and played for the club for two seasons (1981-82). Known as "Shoes," he also played in the Major Leagues for San Diego ('82) and San Francisco ('84). Pittman later served as a scout for the Astros from 1988-2003, which included a stint as a Minor League instructor in 1996.

The Astros released a statement Saturday that said, "We are saddened to learn of the passing of Joe Pittman, who was a member of the Astros organization for many years as a player, scout and Minor League instructor.

"To those that played with him, Joe was known as a fun and enthusiastic individual that brought energy to the ball club. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Joe's family and many friends throughout the game and beyond."


Mark Alan Ballinger
(January 31, 1949 - June 13, 2014)

OkeechobeeFuneralHome.com
June 15, 2014

Mark Alan Ballinger died June 13, 2014. He was born January 31, 1949 in California to Herbert and Delores Ballinger. He played professional baseball for ten years for the Cleveland Indians, California Angels and Kansas City Royals. He was a resident of Okeechobee since 1983 and he managed Badcock Furniture.

Mr. Ballinger is survived by his wife of 42 years, Linda Kay Ballinger; mother-in-law, Ruby Meares both of Okeechobee; brother, Jim Ballinger (Ann Marie); two sisters, Kelly Frost (Gary) all of Thousand Oaks, California and Jackie Killeem (Kevin) of Woodside, California.

Visitation will be 10 a.m. until services at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 18, 2014.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice of Okeechobee, P.O. Box 1548, Okeechobee, FL 34973.

Those wishing to leave a message of condolence may sign the register book at,

All arrangements are entrusted to the direction and care of the Buxton, Bass and Conway families of the Buxton & Bass Okeechobee Funeral Home, 400 North Parrott Avenue, Okeechobee, Florida, 34972.


William John McCool

Published in Dayton Daily News on June 13, 2014

McCool, William John 69, passed away Sunday, June 8, 2014 at his home in Summerfield, Florida.

Bill was born on July 14, 1944 to Carl and Dolores McCool in Batesville, Indiana. Growing up in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, Bill graduated from Lawrenceburg High School in 1962.

After high school, he signed with the Cincinnati Reds as a left-handed pitcher in 1963. "Cool Billy" made his major league pitching debut at the age of 19 on April 24, 1964. He was named National League Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News and was named a National League All-Star in 1966.

Bill met and married Carol Reuteler in 1967. After baseball, he moved to Centerville, Ohio where he raised his three children. Bill is the author of "The Billy McCool Pitching Digest: A Guide to Effective Baseball Pitching" published in 1977.

In 2004, he retired and moved to Summerfield, Florida.

Bill is survived by his wife of 45 years, Carol (Reuteler) McCool, his three children: Angie (Chris) Smith, Megan (Lindsey) Mayo, and Andy (Teresa) McCool, and his 7 grandchildren.

Bob Welch, Pitching Ace and Prototype for Today’s Power Arms, Dies at 57

By Bruce Weber
The New York Times
June 10, 2014


Bob Welch, a flame-throwing right-hander for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland A’s who overcame alcoholism to win 211 games, including 27 in 1990, a single-season total no other pitcher has reached in the past 40 years, died on Monday in Seal Beach, Calif. He was 57.

The A’s announced the death on the team website. A report on MLB.com said the cause was a heart attack, attributing the information to the Dodgers.

Welch played 17 seasons in the big leagues, from 1978 to 1994, was named to two All-Star teams, one in each league, and won the American League Cy Young Award in 1990. He was among the hardest throwers of his era, a rangy and athletic prototype of the so-called power arms who now flood the rotations and bullpens of major league teams, challenging opposing lineups with their 95-mile-per-hour fastballs.

His blistering fastball, and his poise, received an early showcase at the end of his rookie season with the Dodgers, when he was called in from the bullpen to protect a one-run lead with one out in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the 1978 World Series against the Yankees.

Two men were on base, and after getting Thurman Munson to fly out he faced Reggie Jackson, the Hall of Fame slugger who the year before had clinched the Series for the Yankees, also against the Dodgers, with three homers in Game 6.

In an at-bat that lasted more than five minutes and became one of baseball’s most famous showdowns, Welch, who was just 21, threw nine pitches, all fastballs, and with a 3-2 count blazed one on — or maybe just off — the inside corner. Jackson swung violently and missed, ending the game.

By 1980, Welch had joined the Dodgers’ starting rotation. He won 14 games and lost 9, and he pitched three innings in the All-Star Game. In May, in a game against the Atlanta Braves, he faced 27 batters, the minimum, in a one-hit shutout.

That was the season Welch publicly revealed his struggle with alcohol. He said he had stemmed it with the help of a 12-step program after the Dodgers, recognizing he had a problem, had intervened.

“I started drinking when I was 16,” Welch said in an interview with George Vecsey of The New York Times, with whom he later collaborated on a book, “Five O’Clock Comes Early: A Young Man’s Battle with Alcoholism.”

Welch was a valuable Dodger, winning at least 13 games in a season six times. But after going 15-9 in 1987, he was shipped from the National League to Oakland as part of a three-team deal that included the Mets.

Though the American League, which employs a designated hitter, is generally considered the more challenging league for a pitcher, Welch had his finest years with the A’s, going 17-9 and 17-8 his first two seasons and 27-6 in 1990, earning him the Cy Young Award.

The last pitcher to win 27 games in a season had been Steve Carlton of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1972, and no pitcher had won more than 27 since Denny McLain won 31 for the Detroit Tigers in 1968. (Despite Welch’s record, some thought that Roger Clemens deserved the award that year because he had given up fewer runs per game in compiling a 21-6 record for the Red Sox, posting an earned run average of 1.93 to Welch’s 2.95.)

Robert Lynn Welch was born on Nov. 3, 1956, in Detroit, attended high schools in its suburbs and pitched for Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. He was the Dodgers’ 20th overall pick in the first round of the 1977 amateur draft. After spending parts of two seasons in the minor leagues, he made his big league debut in June 1978.

His survivors include two sons, Dylan and Riley, and a daughter, Kelly.

The A’s went to the World Series in all three of Welch’s first three seasons with them, losing in 1988 to the Dodgers and in 1990 to the Cincinnati Reds. In 1989, the A’s swept the San Francisco Giants, four games to none, in a Series that was interrupted by an earthquake just before Game 3. Welch had been scheduled to start.

Welch’s overall record was 211-146, with a 3.47 E.R.A. and 1,969 strikeouts in 3,092 innings. He pitched in four World Series (though his teams went to five) and won two world championship rings, with the Dodgers in 1981 (again against the Yankees) and with the A’s in 1989.

He was also the pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, the year they won the World Series in seven games against the Yankees.

Welch’s moment of triumph in the 1978 Series, retiring Jackson to end Game 2, was short-lived. He was the losing pitcher in Game 4, and the Yankees went on to win the title in six. In the final game, Jackson seized his revenge, smacking a Welch fastball for a mammoth home run.


Don Zimmer, Who Lived Baseball for 66 Years, Dies at 83


By Richard Goldstein
The New York Times
June 4, 2014


Don Zimmer, the stubby, Popeye-muscled baseball lifer with the unforgettable jowls whose passion for the game endured through 66 years as a player, manager, coach and adviser, died on Wednesday in Dunedin, Fla. He was 83.

The Tampa Bay Rays announced his death; he had been a senior adviser for the team since 2004.

Zimmer had surgery on April 16 to repair a leaky heart valve and had undergone kidney dialysis after falling into a diabetic coma at his home in Seminole, Fla., in May 2012. He had visited the Rays’ Tropicana Field in recent years when his health permitted, and he last appeared there at their season opener on March 31, when he chatted with players in the clubhouse and was introduced to the crowd while sitting in a golf cart.

The Rays’ third-base coach, Tom Foley, began wearing Zimmer’s No. 66 jersey, with Zimmer’s name on it, reflecting his baseball longevity, on May 23, as he remained hospitalized. Zimmer’s uniform number had been going up by one digit each season he was with the Rays.

Zimmer was married on a baseball diamond in 1951, and it seemed he never left the field.

He played the infield for the Brooklyn Dodgers’ only World Series championship team, he was an original member of the Mets, and he was Yankee Manager Joe Torre’s confidant as his bench coach on four World Series championship teams. In 1999, when Torre was being treated for prostate cancer, Zimmer filled in for him for 36 games as the team was on its way to winning its 25th Series.

Zimmer managed the 1978 Boston Red Sox, who were overtaken by the Yankees for a division title on Bucky Dent’s playoff home run. He was the National League’s manager of the year in 1989 when he led the Chicago Cubs to a surprising division championship.

He played in the majors for 12 seasons, mostly as an infielder, and he managed for 13 seasons. Zimmer was an All-Star only once, and he never managed a pennant winner, but his intensity remained undimmed.

While a Yankees coach in October 2003, at 72, he charged Boston’s star pitcher Pedro Martinez during a playoff melee. Zimmer swung and missed, and Martinez threw him to the Fenway Park turf. Later, he apologized, saying he had sullied the game he loved.

Eight years later, Zimmer’s baseball juices were still flowing.

When Tampa Bay was trailing the Yankees, 7-0, in the sixth inning of their final game of the 2011 regular season, needing a victory for a wild-card playoff spot, Zimmer left the Rays’ bench to head home. Halfway there, he realized that he had not said goodbye to the players, so he turned his car around and got back to Tropicana Field in time to see the Rays rally for an 8-7 victory to overtake the Red Sox for a playoff berth. Zimmer was still in the clubhouse at 2 a.m., when the celebration finally wound down.

“I’m 80 years old, and I thought I was playing,” he told The Charlotte Sun of Port Charlotte, Fla. “This matches everything. It’s crazy, it’s beautiful, it’s baseball.”

Zimmer’s bulging arm muscles on his 5-foot-9-inch frame — he was about 170 pounds in his playing years — brought him the enduring nickname Popeye when he played for the Dodger teams known as the Boys of Summer. His puffy face seemed like something out of a baseball trading card from the days when dugouts were awash in the juice from chewing tobacco.

The Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee likened Zimmer to a gerbil for his bulging cheeks. Zimmer did not care much for that description, but he never took himself too seriously. The night after he was struck in the face by a ball fouled into the Yankees’ dugout by Chuck Knoblauch during a 1999 playoff game, he wore an Army helmet. He allowed Derek Jeter to rub his head and his stomach for good luck before he came to the plate.

In an interview with Esquire in 2001, Zimmer talked about his bench-coach job: “I sit next to Torre on the bench. When he plays hit-and-run that works, I say, ‘Nice goin’, Skipper,’ and if it doesn’t work, I go down to the other end of the bench, get a drink and get out of his way.”

But as Torre put it in his 1997 memoir, “Chasing the Dream,” written with Tom Verducci: “Zim turned out to be the perfect bench coach. I ran everything past Zim. We had a great rapport and a lot of fun.”

Donald William Zimmer was born on Jan. 17, 1931, and raised in Cincinnati, where his father owned a wholesale fruit and vegetable company. He was signed out of high school as a shortstop by the Dodgers’ organization in 1949.

On Aug. 16, 1951, while playing for the Dodgers’ farm team at Elmira, N.Y., he married his high school sweetheart, the former Carol Jean Bauerle (known since childhood as Soot), in a ceremony at home plate under a canopy of crossed bats held by his teammates.

By the summer of 1953, Zimmer was playing for St. Paul in the American Association, a promotion to the Dodgers in sight. He had good speed and fine power. But he nearly lost his life when he was beaned in a game in Columbus, Ohio. He sustained a fractured skull and fell into a coma. Doctors drilled holes in the sides of his head to relieve pressure on his brain.

Zimmer made his major league debut in 1954, filling in briefly for Pee Wee Reese, the Dodgers’ future Hall of Fame shortstop and Zimmer’s boyhood idol. He hit 15 home runs in 88 games for the Dodgers’ 1955 World Series championship team, but he endured a second severe beaning in 1956 against the Cincinnati Reds. It left his cheekbone shattered and his eyesight damaged.

Zimmer remained with the Dodgers through their 1959 World Series championship season in Los Angeles, played two seasons for the Cubs, making his lone All-Star appearance in 1961, and then joined the expansion Mets as their third baseman in 1962. He was 0 for 34 at the plate to start the season before being traded to the Reds. He later played for the Dodgers once more and the Washington Senators, and then retired after the 1965 season with a .235 career batting average and 91 homers.

Zimmer managed the San Diego Padres (1972-73), the Red Sox (1976-80), the Texas Rangers (1981-82) and the Cubs (1988-91) and filled in for the recuperating Torre early in 1999.

He was Torre’s bench coach from 1996 to 2003, and then quit, maintaining that the Yankees’ owner, George Steinbrenner, had treated him abusively. He joined Tampa Bay the next season, providing tips to players and doing community-relations work in his advisory capacity.

In June 2012, the Rays gave away Zim Bear dolls to the first 10,000 fans attending a night game with the Detroit Tigers. The little bears, dressed in a Rays jersey and cap, featured the dollmaker’s best effort to duplicate Zimmer’s face.

“Somebody said they wouldn’t put it in their living room,” Zimmer said. “They’d scare somebody.”

Zimmer is survived by his wife as well as a son, Tom; a daughter, Donna; and four grandchildren.

“All I’ve ever been is a simple baseball man, but it’s never ceased to amaze me how so many far more accomplished people I’ve met in this life wanted to be one, too,” he said in “The Zen of Zim” (2004), a book written with Bill Madden. “What a game, this baseball!”

Yanks offer condolences after passing of Katz

By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com | 6/1/2014 6:56 P.M. ET


NEW YORK -- Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner issued a statement offering condolences to the family of Lewis Katz, a former owner of the New Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils who died in a plane crash on Saturday evening in Bedford, Mass.

Katz, 72, was a co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, and had been a minority owner of the Yankees, as well as an investor in the YES Network. He bought the Nets in 1998 and sold the franchise in 2004.

"The New York Yankees are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Lewis Katz last night. We would like to express our deepest, heartfelt sympathies to his family," Steinbrenner said.

"Lewis was a minority owner of the Yankees and a valued, long-time friend and colleague to so many of us within the organization. We will cherish his sense of humor, intellect, and deep sense of philanthropy. Lewis had a huge heart and was always there when someone needed help. He will forever be remembered."

A moment of silence honoring Katz was observed at Yankee Stadium prior to Sunday's game between the Yankees and Twins. Seven people died when Katz's Gulfstream IV plane crashed as it was leaving Hanscom Field, bound for Atlantic City, N.J. There were no survivors.


John Dittmer


TheGazette.com
June 2, 2014


John D. "Jack" Dittmer, 86, of Elkader, died Saturday, May 31, 2014, at the Lutheran Home in Strawberry Point. He was born on Jan. 10, 1928, in Elkader, Iowa, to LeRoy and Helen (Schmidt) Dittmer. Jack grew up in Elkader, graduating from Elkader High School in 1946. During the summer of 1945, Sec Taylor of the Des Moines Register nominated Jack to play in the U.S. All-American East-West baseball game in New York City.

Jack's coach for the East Team was Ty Cobb; the West Team was coached by Babe Ruth.

A scholarship was offered to Jack by the University of Iowa and, after four years and earning his bachelor's degree, he became the first nine letterman at the university since 1940. In football he was an All Conference selection in 1948, and made the second team AP Big Ten Football in 1948. During his junior year of college, Jack received a letter from the Chicago Bears football club indicating its interest in his future.

In baseball he was chosen on the All Star Team in 1949, and the Second All-American Squad Team. In 1950, he received the UI's award for the Most Versatile Athlete and also won the Athletic Board Cup for Excellence in Athletics.

In 1978, Jack was elected to the Iowa Baseball Hall of Fame, and in 1993, Jack was inducted into the National Iowa Lettermen's Club Athletic Hall of Fame for the University of Iowa.

During his senior year of college, Jack received offers to play pro baseball from 12 of the major league teams.

In 1950, Jack signed a professional baseball contract with the Boston Braves and played for farm teams in Denver, Atlanta and Milwaukee (AAA). He was called up to the Boston Braves major league team in 1952 and played with the Milwaukee Braves from 1953 through 1956. In 1957, he was sold to the Detroit Tigers and then played for AAA teams in Phoenix, Seattle and Sacramento. He also played one winter in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In 1959 Jack ended his pro career and sold cars for many years in Elkader until he retired in 2009.

Jack was united in marriage to Darlene Dougherty on Dec. 9, 1950, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Elkader, and three
children were born to this union.

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Darlene of Elkader; his children, Lisa (Kevin) Ihde of Farmersburg, Jan (John) Garms of Elkader and Doug (Lylina) of Elkader; seven grandchildren, Kirstin, Kara, Jamie, Courtney, Jenna, Jason and Erin; great-grandchildren Audrey and Kate; and a host of other family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and one sister, Dorothy Dittmer.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Elkader EMTs, Elkader Library or the Alzheimer's Association.

Mass of Christian Burial: 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 4, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Elkader with the Very Rev. Paul R. Peters as Celebrant.

Visitation: 3 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 3, at Peace United Church of Christ in Elkader and one hour before services at St. Joseph's on Wednesday.

Interment: St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Elkader.

Leonard Funeral Home in Elkader is assisting the family.

The family would like to express its appreciation to that wonderful staff of employees who cared for Jack the last four years in the Memory Unit at Strawberry Point Lutheran Home. Thank you sincerely!

Jack Dittmer has now left the practice field and will be playing second base on a big "diamond" in the sky.



Michael W. Gordon

Published in The Enterprise on May 28, 2014

Michael W. Gordon, 60, of Brockton, passed away on Monday, May 26, 2014 at Brigham and Womens Hospital surrounded by his loving family following a courageous 8-month battle with acute myeloid leukemia.

Mike was born on Sept. 11, 1953 in Leominster, MA. He was married to the love of his life, Joanne (Ruggiero) Gordon, for 25 years.

He was the proud and loving father of Ryan and Rachel Gordon; devoted son of the late Carol and Francis Gordon; cherished brother of Rebecca Petrone and her late husband Michael, Peter Gordon, Richard Gordon and his wife Jane, and the late Charles Gordon; son-in-law of Mary Ruggiero; and brother-in-law of Dianne Ruggiero, Ralph Ruggiero, Fred Cram, and the late Maureen Cram. He is loved by many nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles, including Nancy Ianiri.

Mike was a 1972 graduate of Brockton High School where he excelled in basketball, baseball and football, serving as co-captain of all three teams during his senior year.

Michael was proudly inducted into the Brockton High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995 and was a supporter of the Brockton High Football Alumni Association. He received football scholarships from Notre Dame, West Virginia and BC, but instead realized a lifelong dream of playing professional baseball when he was drafted as a catcher by the Chicago Cubs organization as a third round pick in 1972. He made his major league debut on April 7, 1977.

Michael was employed by Columbia Gas of MA, formerly Bay State Gas Company, for 28 years, most recently as a Locate Technician. He was a member of Utility Workers Union, Local 273.

Mike loved watching all sports, especially following the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics. An avid golfer, he was a member of Thorny Lea Golf Club. His passion for golf led him to play in many annual tournaments, both local and regional. He loved spending time outside, enjoyed movies and music, but most of all cherished spending time with his family.

He will be remembered as a humble, kind man who was devoted to his family and friends. Among his proudest moments was being able to see Ryan and Rachel earn their college degrees.

Michaels family would like to offer heartfelt thanks to his dedicated team of doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers and PCAs at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and D-F/Brigham and Womens CC Hospital for their care, compassion and efforts.

All are welcome to calling hours Friday 3 - 8 p.m. in Waitt Funeral Chapel at Waitt Funeral Home, 850 North Main St., Brockton. Funeral from Waitt Funeral Home, Saturday at 8 a.m., funeral Mass at 9 a.m. in St. Anns Church, 103 N Main St., West Bridgewater, MA 02379 and burial at Pine Hill Cemetery, West Bridgewater.

Memorial gifts may be made to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Adult Leukemia Program, PO Box 849168, Boston, MA 0224-9168.


John L. "Johnny" Gray

Published in The Palm Beach Post from May 28 to May 29, 2014

John "Johnny" L. Gray, 87, of Boca Raton, FL, funeral service is 11:00 AM, Thursday, May 29, 2014 at the South Florida National Cemetery, 6501 State Route 7, Lake Worth, FL 33449 with military honor being provided by the US Army Funeral Honor Guard. Please arrive at the cemetery between 10:30 AM and the service time.

A native of West Palm Beach, FL, Johnny was born on December 11, 1926 and passed away at the Hospice by the Sea in Boca Raton on May 21, 2014.

John was a "All State" Baseball, Basketball and Football player at West Palm Beach High School and a graduate of Rollin's College in Winter Park, FL and a US Army Veteran of World War II. He also was a professional major league baseball pitcher from 1954 till 1958 playing for the Yankees Athletics, Phillies and the Indians, winning a pennant ring in 1956.

After his baseball career, he became a avid golfer, making 18 "Hole-In-Ones" as a long term Palm Beach County resident.

Johnny is survived by his companion, Ida Desch and many, many loving friends.

Please send all floral arrangements directly to the cemetery, prior to services. Veterans Funeral Care 727-524-9202.




Death of former pitcher Roberto Vargas

By Primerahora.com
May 28, 2014 10:45 PM

He participated in 15 seasons of the League of Professional Baseball Puerto Rico

The former star pitcher for the Criollos de Caguas, Roberto Vargas, died the night of Monday, May 27, at his residence. Vargas was born on May 29, 1929 and participated in 15 seasons in the Puerto Rico Professional Baseball, 14 seasons with the Creoles and the Lobos de Arecibo.

In his career, he amassed a record of 84-76 with a career ERA of 3.74 and 632 strikeouts joined. Last year, Vargas was selected as one of the top 75 players in the Puerto Rican professional baseball.

In 2011, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame Sports Santurce.

His body will be exposed from the Thursday, May 29, at the funeral home Memorial Borinquen, Caguas, and will be buried on Friday at the same location.


Rev. Guy Morton Jr.

(1930 - 2014)

Published in The Morning Journal on May 13, 2014

Rev. Guy Morton, Jr., 83, Southern Baptist pastor for 55 years died May 11, 2014 at Mercy Regional Medical Center, Lorain. He lived to win souls for Christ Jesus.

He was born November 4, 1930 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He followed the footsteps of his father who was a major league Cleveland Indiana's baseball player. Rev. Morton reached the Boston Red Sox and played nine years in the minor leagues. He was selected as the All Time Catcher for the "Carolina League" for the last 60 years.

He served as senior pastor for 27 years at the Westwood Baptist Church in Wooster, Ohio, 3 years at Lorain Baptist in Lorain, Ohio and 14 years at Lakeview Baptist Church in Vermilion, Ohio; later as Pastor Emeritus at Lakeview Baptist and interim pastor at Firelands Baptist Church for the last 3 years.

During these years he was elected president of the State Convention of Baptists in 2001 and served 2 terms. Prior to that, he had served as first vice president and second vice president (twice). For eight years, he served on the Southern Baptist Annuity Board and was chairman of the Relief Committee for four years. He was moderator for three years of the Northcoast Baptist Association and the Erie Association. He was president of the Ohio Pastor's Conference in 1975. He was an active member of the Vermilion Ministerial Association.

He graduated from the University of Alabama with two degrees, a B.S. and M.A. He did post graduate work at Ashland University, Bowling Green University and the University of Akron. He spent two winters at the University of Chattanooga. He was a member of the Delta Chi Fraternity. He taught school at St. John's (Tuscaloosa, AL)

He served during the Korean War in the army as a platoon Sgt. for two years; at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and Camp Atterbury, Indiana. He was in the 31th Division 167th Regiment.

He was elected to the Wayne County Christian Hall of Fame, the Tuscaloosa High School Hall of Fame (1972), Most Valuable Player of the Carolina League in 1954, Southern League All Star Team in 1957, 4 other all star teams and was the Alabama High School All Star Baseball Coach.

He started boy's baseball leagues in the Triway Area of Wooster, Ohio, in Tuscaloosa County in Alabama and the Lassie Girls softball leagues in the Wooster, Ohio area. He was the March of Dimes director 2 years in the Wooster Area.

He and Mrs. Morton had a beautiful marriage. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Jean Morton ( nee Carroll); son, Rev. Guy Earl Morton (Jill), Huntsville, AL; daughters, Vicki Lynn (Jeff) Hudak, Amherst, OH and Valerie Dawn (Pastor Cliff) Morris, Vermilion, OH; 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren; 2 step grandchildren and 4 step great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Guy & Edna Morton, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His favorite words and advice were, "Practice the Presence of Jesus." He used to say, "I would rather be a New Testament pastor than anything in the world".

Calling hours will be Tuesday, May 13, 2014 from 5-8 p.m. at Lakeview Baptist Church, 591 Ferndale Ave., Vermilion, Ohio and Wednesday, May 14, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. until the time of the funeral service at 1:30 p.m. at the church. A cemetery service will follow at Maple Grove Cemetery, Vermilion. The Vermilion Veterans Council will conduct military graveside services.

Memorial contributions are suggested to Lakeview Baptist Church, 591 Ferndale Ave., Vermilion, OH or Firelands Baptist Church, c/o Jim Wargo, Treasurer, 921 Sharondale Dr., Amherst, OH 44001.



Leo Marentette Jr.
(1941 - 2014)

Published in Toledo Blade on May 10, 2014

Lambertville - Leo J. Marentette, Jr., a Toledo Mud Hens pitcher in the late 1960s, who in a decadelong professional baseball career made five major league appearances, died Thursday at home. He was 73.

He died in his sleep, apparently of a heart attack, his wife, Dawn, said.

His off-season job and, after 1970 his full-time year-round job, was as a dockworker with Roadway Express in Toledo. He retired in 1999.

Mr. Marentette was best known for his 1967-69 stint with the Mud Hens, especially his stellar performances in 1967 and 1968 Governors' Cup playoff games.

When the Mud Hens said farewell in September, 2001, to Ned Skeldon Stadium in Maumee, the team invited Mr. Marentette to be among the alumni in the ceremony.

"He said it meant the world to him," his wife said. "He said it felt like yesterday he was there."

He was a 1959 graduate of Wayne High School west of Detroit. That summer, baseball scouts encouraged him to take part in a tryout camp.

"I warmed up and pitched to nine guys, and struck out nine," Mr. Marentette told The Blade in 2006. The scouts followed him home, and he was signed to the Detroit Tigers organization.

He played with at least two teams a year through 1964 - Montgomery, Ala., and the Durham Bulls; Duluth, Denver, Knoxville, Syracuse. His favorite memories included the spring training in which he pitched two scoreless innings against the Giants, striking out Willie Mays, among others.

He pitched two games for the Tigers late in the 1965 season. He closed his career with the Montreal Expos organization and made three appearances with the team. Of his time in the majors, he said, "... No one can take [it] away from me."

"He had so many great memories," his wife said. "I'd have to say those were the best times of his life."

He played amateur baseball in Toledo after his pro career and later was a first baseman for a slow-pitch softball team. He and his wife went to the Tigers' opening day every year, and he followed the team all season. He attended several Mud Hens game a season too.

He was among a group of regulars who meet at Franklin Park Mall for conversation and lunch.

"He was always quick with a baseball story, and he had a plethora of them," said Ken Rosenbaum, a Blade retiree.

Many became close friends through the daily gathering.

"We talked everything, and Leo was such an easygoing person," said Jack Mattimore, a retired Whitmer High School coach and teacher.

He was born Feb. 18, 1941, in Detroit. He attended Crossroads Community Church, Ottawa Lake.

Surviving are his wife, Dawn, whom he married March 16, 1996; son, Leo III; daughter, Beth Fosgate; brothers, Tom and Mike, and two granddaughters.

Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. Tuesday in Crossroads Community Church, Ottawa Lake, where services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Arrangements are by Weigel Funeral Home, Swanton.

The family suggests tributes to the American Diabetes Association.

William Harrell

Newcomer Cannon Funeral Home, May 8, 2014

Harrell, William ALBANY William "Billy" Harrell, 85, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Billy was born the son of John Nurney Harrell and Queen Ethel Harrell, on July 18, 1928 in Norristown, Pa.

Bill graduated from Siena College with a bachelor of science degree. He played ball for Siena from 1949 to 1952 and lead the 49-50 basketball team to a National Catholic Invitational Tournament victory.

Bill was the third person inducted into Siena's Athletics Hall of Fame in 1966 and the first person to have his Siena jersey retired in 2006. His no. 10 jersey now hangs from the rafters at the Times Union Center in Albany.

Bill also went on to play four years of major league baseball, three years with the Cleveland Indians and one with the Boston Red Sox.

Bill worked with the New York State Division for Youth for many years until retirement. He was an avid bowler and loved watching any baseball game and his Siena Saints basketball. He also served in several capacities at Oakwood Avenue Presbyterian church throughout the years.

Bill was predeceased by his parents and two brothers, Nurney "Buster" Harrell and Percy Harrell; a sister, Sarah Harrell and two sisters-in-law, Lou Jean and Lillian Harrell. He leaves behind his loving wife, Miriam; his two brothers, David Harrell and James "Pete" Harrell (Rose) along with his children, William S. (Lil) Harrell of Las Vegas, Nev., Tanya H. (Calvin) Little of Crystal Lake, Ill., Christine E. (Les) Harewood of Las Vegas, and Diane M. Wyatt of Rochester and Tyrone Canty (Rosie) of Albany.

He is also survived by 11 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Lung Association in New York, 1595 Elmwood Ave., Rochester, NY 14620 in Bill's memory.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 10 a.m. at the Alumni Recreation Center (ARC), 515 Loudon Rd, Loudonville (off Spring Street, 4th driveway).

Calling hours will be Monday, May 12, 2014 from 5 to 8 p.m. at New Comer Cannon Funeral Home, 343 New Karner Rd., Colonie.

Interment will follow the service in Oakwood Cemetery, Troy.


Richard "Dick" Welteroth
(August 3, 1927 - May 7, 2014)

Crouse Funeral Home
May 9, 2014


Richard “Dick” Welteroth, 86, a native of Williamsport, PA, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Born August 3, 1927, Dick was the son of John J. and Emma (Schmidt) Welteroth.

A lifetime member of St. Boniface Catholic Church., he graduated from St. Mary's High School in 1947 and worked tirelessly for the benefit of the church on fundraising committees and building maintenance.

Dick was the owner of the family business, J. J. Welteroth for over 40 years, specializing in slate roofs and anything made of tin. After his son Jim graduated from the Air Force Academy, he decided to join the Civil Air Patrol, not to be outdone by his son.

During his 30 years in the Civil Air Patrol, he achieved the rank of major , was a group and squadron commander as well as a pilot. He especially enjoyed teaching the cadets. He was also a Eagle Boy Scout leader of Troop 35 at St Boniface, coached Sunday School basketball and taught pitching to many baseball hopefuls.

He is perhaps best known for his career as a pitcher for the Washington Senators in the late 1940s and early 50’s appearing in 90 games and pitching against many legendary players such as Ted Williams, Bobby Doer, Johnny Peskie, Yogi Berra and Joe DiMaggio.

He was a member of the Harmonia Gesang Verien Sing Society, the Brandon Park Commission and a Republican Party precinct leader.

Dick is survived by three children: James and his wife, Susan (Starr), of Yorktown, VA; Linda and her husband, Jay Corey, of Andover, MA.; and Gary and his wife, Patricia (Lehmann) of Pittsfield, MA.; and 8 grandchildren: Jennifer, Brian, Sean, Allison, Michael, Brendan, Meghan and Claire.

He loved his family, especially the grandchildren. He did his best to attend all of their major events no matter how far he had to drive. Driving was a pleasure for him. Every Sunday, he would drive the family around the countryside to find the perfect ice cream cone or shake.

Dick was predeceased by his high-school sweetheart and wife of 57 years, Joanne (Zinn); son Tom; brother, Carl; and sister, Mary Gramling. Dick considered anyone he met a friend.

The family would like to thank all of you for enriching his life, helping him when he was ill and keeping him in your prayers.

Family and friends are invited to a service celebrating the life of Dick Welteroth that will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 13, at St. Boniface Catholic Church 326 Washington Blvd.

Visitation will be held from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Monday, May 12, at the Crouse Funeral Home at 133 E. 3rd Street.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the St. Boniface Building Fund.


Mel Clark

Published in Point Pleasant Register from May 2 to May 3, 2014

West Columbia — Melvin Earl Clark, 89, of West Columbia, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, went to be with the Lord on Thursday, May 1, 2014, at his residence.

He was a caring husband, father, Navy veteran, professional baseball player, professional scout, fox hunter, insurance/investment agent and gentleman farmer. He was the son of the late Lawrence R. and Estyl Roush Clark.

He was also preceded in death by his brother, Gerald E. "Pokey" and Juanita Clark; sister Judy Marks; and brother-in-law Leonard Fields.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Sally Clark; son Brent (Amanda) Clark, of Letart; daughter Barbara (Charles) Davis, of Stow, Ohio; grandchildren Maura (Ben) Brown, of Royse City, Texas, LT Bradford (Hannah) Clark, USCG of Cleveland, Ohio, 1st Lt. Brenton Clark, of Fort Campbell, Ky., Jarret Davis, of Columbus, Ohio, Meredith Davis, of Huntsville, Ala., and Aaron Davis, of Lewisburg; five great-grandchildren, Adrianne, Addison, Anniliese, Aleydis Brown and Lydia Clark; sisters Eileen Fields, of New Haven, and Phyllis (Harley) Fetty, of Point Pleasant; brothers Dorwin Clark, of New Haven, Ralph (Sue) Clark, of Point Pleasant, and Gordon (Michelle) Clark, of West Columbia; and many nieces and nephews.

During World War II from 1942 to 1945, Mel Clark served with the U.S. Navy and was based on a LSD in the Pacific. He was assigned to a landing craft and saw action at Iwo Jima, Philippines and New Guinea. After his discharge, Mel attended Ohio University and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1947.

The Phillies assigned Mel to the class D Appleton Papermakers that same year, where he appeared in 41 games and hit .347. In 1948, he was with the class D Baton Rouge Red Sticks and again he hit .347 with 191 base hits in 550 at bats. He also set a league record with 22 triples that same year.

By the time the outfielder made it to the majors with the Phillies on Sept. 11, 1951, he had five minor league seasons under his belt and also a degree from Ohio University. Mel appeared in 10 games before the season was over and hit .323; he followed-up with a .335 average as a part-time player in 1952.

His career was set back by a knee injury, and by 1955 he was back in the minors. However, he did return to the majors briefly with the Detroit Tigers in 1957, closing out with a .277 career average. Clark spent the balance of 1957 with the AAA Charleston Senators, hitting .285 and would close out his pro baseball career in 1958 with the AA Birmingham Barons where he appeared in 140 games and hit for a .295 average.

Mel spent 12 full seasons in professional baseball from 1947 through 1958, and along with his major league career batting average of .277; he also produced a .298 average in the minors.

After baseball, Mel made his residence in West Columbia, where he was in the insurance business for many years until retirement. Mel and his wife, Sally Lou Roush Clark, were married Feb. 28, 1948. The parents of Brent Clark and Barbara Clark Davis, they have six grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Mel was a life member of VFW Post, American Legion Post 140.

Viewing will be from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Saturday, May 3, 2014, at Faith Baptist Church in Mason. Funeral service will be 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Faith Baptist Church, with viewing one hour prior to service. Officiating will be the Rev. Ron Branch.

In lieu of flowers, make contributions to Faith Baptist Church Missionary Fund.

Arrangements under the direction of Foglesong Roush Funeral Home in Mason.