Recent Passings

Former Cub Milt Pappas dies at age 76

By Chicago Tribune Staff
April 19, 2016, 8:47 PM

Milt Pappas, the former Cubs pitcher who famously came one pitch from a perfect game, died Tuesday, Beecher police have confirmed.

Pappas was 76.

Pitching for the Cubs on Sept. 2, 1972, Pappas, then 33, had a perfect game against the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field. With two outs in the ninth, pinch-hitter Larry Stahl worked the count to 3-2 before plate umpire Bruce Froemming called a close pitch a ball.

Pappas then began yelling obscenities from the mound, half of them in Greek.

Pappas got the next batter out, securing a no-hitter.

"To this day, I just don't understand it," Pappas said in 2009.

Pappas, who was born in Detroit in 1939, pitched in the majors from 1957 to 1973, the last four years for the Cubs.

Cubs executive chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement Tuesday the organization was sad to learn of Pappas’ death and that “we will always consider him part of the Chicago Cubs family.”

Pappas was seen often at Wrigley Field and stayed connected to the franchise at the Cubs Convention and other events.

“Milt will forever be remembered for one of the most dramatic pitching performances in team history as he delivered a no-hitter that neared perfection in 1972,” Ricketts said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends, relatives and fans as we mourn this loss.”

Pappas was preceded in death by his wife, Carole, whose body was found inside her car in a Wheaton pond in 1987, after she had been missing for five years.

Her death was ruled accidental and an autopsy confirmed she had drowned after driving her car into the water. She had gone missing in September 1982 after she left the family’s home to do some shopping.

Milt Pappas said he had no idea why his wife ended up in the body of water less than a mile from the family’s home in Wheaton.

“That’s a question that may never be answered,” Milt Pappas told the Tribune in 1987. “Why she went that way; why nobody saw a car fly through the air into the pond.”

Pappas pitched in 520 games with the Orioles, Reds, Braves and Cubs during his career, including 465 starts. He was 209-164 and struck out 1,728 and had a 3.40 ERA in 3,186 innings. Pappas also delivered 43 shutouts during his career.

The starting pitcher for the American League in the 1965 All-Star game, Pappas gave up first-inning home runs to Willie Mays and Joe Torre. After that season, Pappas was one of three players the Orioles traded for Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who won the MVP and Triple Crown and led Baltimore to the World Series title in 1966.

Aside from being known for his near-perfect game with the Cubs, Pappas was remembered for one of the 298 home runs he allowed -- Roger Maris’ 59th in 1961, when Maris surpassed Babe Ruth’s then-record 60 home runs by one.

Pappas said in 1998 that he told Commissioner Ford Frick he threw nothing but fastballs to Maris because he was upset that baseball was going to put an asterisk next to Maris’ record if he didn’t break Ruth’s record in 154 games.

Pappas also hit some during his career, 20 to be exact, including four in 1962 while with the Orioles. He also drove in 67 runs in 17 seasons.

In 1971 while with the Cubs, Pappas turned in the 10th National League perfect inning by striking out three Phillies on nine pitches in the fourth inning of a 6-1 loss on Sept. 24.

Pappas was the first 200-game winner to never win 20 games in a season. Pappas’ no-hitter in 1972 was the only one the Cubs were involved with – for or against – until Carlos Zambrano threw one for them in September 2008.

Pappas, a three-time All-Star, moved to Beecher in 1990 and married his second wife, Judi Bloome. In 2013, he was seriously injured in a one-car crash in Kankakee County after he hit a utility pole.

He is survived by his wife, Judi, and children Steve from his first marriage and Alexandria from his second marriage. A daughter, Michelle, from his first marriage, died last year.

Longtime Detroit Tigers broadcaster, Ernie Harwell's radio partner Paul Carey dies at 88, April 12, 2016 9:18 PM

(WXYZ) - Longtime Detroit Tigers broadcaster Paul Carey has died at the age of 88.

Carey has been in failing health in recent years. He was a native of Mt. Pleasant and attended both Central Michigan University and Michigan State University.

Carey spent 19 years broadcasting Tigers games with Ernie Harwell, joining him in the booth in 1973. He retired in 1991.

In addition to his time with the Tigers, Carey also worked at WJR from 1956 until 1992 and served as a play-by-play announcer for the Detroit Pistons.

Prior to his radio career, Carey served in the Army during the Korean War.

Carey was a member of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Nancy, and his nieces and nephews.

Funeral arrangements are still being determined.

Former major league GM H.B. ‘Spec’ Richardson dies

Columbus native was an executive with the Houston Astros, San Francisco Giants

When he was in San Francisco, he appeared in one of the first Miller Lite beer commercials

Richardson, 93, retired to Columbus about 25 years ago

By Chuck Williams
The Ledger-Enquirer
April 12, 2016 11:01 AM

H.B. “Spec” Richardson spent a lifetime in professional baseball, starting his career selling hot dogs and sodas for a minor league team in his hometown and climbing the ladder to become Major League Baseball’s executive of the year.

Richardson, 93, died Tuesday morning at his home in north Columbus. He had been in failing health in recent years and died of natural causes.

When he and his wife, Tommye, returned home more than 25 years ago to retire, Richardson had completed a long and colorful front-office career.

It started in 1946 as the concession manager with the Columbus, Cardinals and he rose through the ranks to general manager of the Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants.

When John Dittrich landed in Columbus as general manager of the RedStixx, he met Richardson, who he knew by reputation.

“He’s one of baseball’s good, ol’ boys,” Dittrich said. “He is the front office part of the Golden Era of the game. You had people like (Roberto) Clemente and (Hank) Aaron on the field and folks like Spec in the front office.”

Dayton Preston, who was a longtime friend and once was part of an ownership group for the minor-league Columbus Astros, said it is hard to describe Richardson’s career.

“It is almost impossible to do what he did,” Preston said. “But he did it and he was good at it. Baseball was all he knew.”

Richardson was general manager of the Astros from 1967-75.

In his role with Houston, he was was directly responsible for the construction of the Astrodome, the Astros home stadium that was dubbed the eighth wonder of the world. Richardson worked directly for Judge Roy Hofheinz, who owned the Astros, formerly the Colt 45s.

“He was Judge Hofheinz’s boy,” Dittrich said. “Spec was the one who oversaw the construction of the Astrodome.”

It started out as the Harris County Domed Stadium when it opened in 1965.

“Everything that Judge Hofheinz wanted he got and Spec saw to it,” Dittrich said. “They had suites before anyone else did. They had the exploding scoreboard long before anyone else in baseball had it. You didn’t have all the HD stuff, so they did it with neon.”

He is remembered for several major trades. In 1971 he traded Joe Morgan, Denis Menke, Jack Billingham and Cesar Geronimo to Cincinnati in exchange for a package of players that included first baseman Lee May. Morgan, Billingham and Geronimo became key players on the Reds’ championship teams.

“Sure he made some bad trades,” Dittrich said. “But every general manager in Major League Baseball who did it as long as Spec did, made some bad trades. But don’t forget, he was also baseball’s executive of the year.”

There was one trade in particular that Preston liked to rib Richardson about. In 1967, Richardson traded future Hall of Fame slugger Eddie Mathews to Detroit for pitcher Fred Gladding.

“He got a one-eyed, right-handed relief pitcher from Detroit for one of the greats of the game,” Preston said. “I always told Spec that was the dumbest trade he ever made. And Fred was one of my best friends.”

Richardson left Houston and became general manager of the San Francisco Giants, where he was named Major League "Executive of the Year" in 1978.

He is perhaps best known for a controversial 1978 trade with the Oakland Athletics in which he acquired pitcher Vida Blue for the Giants. The trade was made after Commissioner Bowie Kuhn vetoed an attempt by A's owner Charlie Finley to sell Blue to the Yankees.

Richardson kept the hotel bar napkin on which he recorded the specifics of that trade.

It was while he was with the Giants that Richardson did one of the very first Miller Lite beer commercials. He and fellow general manager Al Rosen were seen sharing a beer and trading baseball cards.

The stint with the Giants didn’t last and he was fired in 1980.

Richardson, like many ballplayers, worked his way through the minor leagues to the big leagues. After leaving Columbus, he was business manager for the Jacksonville Tars from 1949-52. He was promoted to general manager of the club that became the Jacksonville Braves and held that job until 1958.

He was the Jacksonville general manager when the team, along with Savannah, broke the color line in the South Atlantic League. That Jacksonville team included Hank Aaron, a newly signed kid from Mobile, Ala. Felix Mantilla joined Aaron on that team.

Richardson returned to Columbus with his wife, Tommye, around 1989 and they became fixtures at local minor league baseball and hockey games.

When Chicago businessman Charlie Morrow purchased the Columbus minor league franchise and moved his family here in 1994, Richardson became one of his friends and mentors, said Morrow’s widow, Martha Paull.

“He has such a love of baseball and such a love of Columbus and he wanted so badly for baseball to survive and thrive in Columbus,” Paull said. “… He did help guide Charlie in his first foray into baseball. He took his advice seriously and was a good source of information.”

Columbus Cottonmouths coach and general manager Jerome Bechard might have been a hockey guy and Richardson was a baseball man, but they built a mutual bond and respect. After he retired from baseball, Richardson volunteered in the Cottonmouths front office.

“He was old-school, business-like and sharp as a tack,” Bechard said Tuesday. “He was an open book and full of unbelievable knowledge.”

When Bechard moved off the ice and into the front office and coaching jobs, he said Richardson was always willing to help.

“I could show him anything,” Bechard said. “We would go over budgets, settlements and talk about how they did things on the major-league level and he would help me adapt.”

There also was a powerful love story in Richardson’s life. He met his wife, Tommye, a native of Fort Mitchell, Ala., when he was working with the Columbus Cardinals. She worked at the Western Union office in downtown Columbus, and he would go there every night to send dispatches back to St. Louis, the parent club.

They were married for 60 years when she died in the fall of 2009.

“They were a great team,” Preston said. “ Tommye and baseball were his life. And, as you know, baseball people who worked in management at that time had a pretty tough life — a lot of strange hours and a lot of travel. But at the end of the day, she was always the one who was in control. Spec just didn’t know it.”

Jan Hyatt lived next door to the Richardsons for the last 27 years, and they became a part of her family.

“I can still see her saying, ‘Now, Spec,’ correcting him and reeling him in,” Hyatt said. “When he wouldn’t listen to anyone else, he would listen to her.”

Paull described the relationship this way: “She was the softness to his grumpy side.”

They often attended hockey games and sat in the same seats, Bechard said.

“They were so loving and I know when Miss Tommye passed, he was like ‘I need to go, too,’ ” Bechard said. “I know he probably prayed every day to go join her.”

Richardson was recognized for his work and made it into a number of sports Hall of Fames. He’s in the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame, the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame and the Jordan High School Hall of Fame. He was a manager on the 1943 Jordan basketball team that won a state title.

Preston said that Richardson may have been the most significant sports figure to come out of Columbus behind only Baseball Hall of Fame member Frank Thomas.

Richardson is survived by his daughter, Cindy Venturelli, and four grandchildren, who all live in the Oakland, Calif., area. Visitation will be Friday from 5-8 p.m. at Striffler-Hamby Mortuary on Macon Road. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, also at Striffler-Hamby.

Mike Sandlock Dies at 100; Was Oldest Living Big Leaguer

By Bruce Weber
The New York Times
April 5, 2016

Mike Sandlock, a catcher and infielder for three National League teams who achieved his foremost baseball distinction decades after his playing days were over when he became the oldest living former big league ballplayer, died at his home in Cos Cob, Conn., on Monday, the day after opening day. He was 100.

His death was confirmed by his daughter-in-law Alexandria Sandlock.

Sandlock played 16 seasons of professional baseball, most of it in the minor leagues. Though he had batted over .300 in a handful of seasons in the minors, Sandlock, a switch-hitter, did not exactly scare big league pitchers from either side of the plate.

He played parts of two seasons with the Boston Braves in 1942 and 1944 — he spent 1943 working in a munitions factory — and had his best year in 1945 with the Brooklyn Dodgers, batting .282 in 80 games and swatting the only two home runs of his career. Both, oddly enough, came off pitcher Harry Feldman of the Giants.

By 1947, with many major league players having returned to baseball after serving in World War II, Sandlock was back in the minor leagues with Montreal, the Brooklyn farm team from which Jackie Robinson made his history-making leap to the major leagues.

Robinson was gone from Montreal by then, but one of Sandlock’s teammates was a young catcher he took under his wing: Roy Campanella, who would go on, as a Dodger, to win three Most Valuable Player Awards and enter the Hall of Fame. Campanella gave Sandlock credit for curing him of a tic in his throwing motion that slowed his release on stolen-base attempts.

From 1949 to 1952, Sandlock was the regular catcher for the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League, where one of his battery mates was Johnny Lindell, a former outfielder for the Yankees who was trying to rejuvenate his career as a knuckleball pitcher.

When the Pittsburgh Pirates called up Lindell, they promoted Sandlock as well, ostensibly because he had the skill and experience to catch the knuckler, a bedeviling pitch for catchers at any level to handle. The strategy was not very successful: Lindell led the major leagues in wild pitches with 11, and Sandlock led in passed balls with 15, par for the course for a team that won only 50 games that season, the fewest in either league.

Michael Joseph Sandlock was born on Oct. 17, 1915, in what is now Old Greenwich, Conn. He worked as an electrician during the Depression, a job, he told The New York Times in a 2013 interview, that paid him $200 a month and that he quit in 1938 to play ball for less than half that. His parents, he said, thought he was nuts.

Before making it to the majors, he played for teams in Huntington, W.Va.; Bradford, Pa.; Hartford; and Evansville, Ind. He finished his playing days in the Philadelphia Phillies’ minor league system. For his major league career, he batted .240 in 195 games with 31 runs batted in.

Sandlock married Victoria Suchocki in 1940. She died in 1982. He is survived by two sons, Michael and Damon; six grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren.

After his playing career ended, Sandlock worked as a plumber, electrician and handyman. He became the oldest living former major leaguer with the death at 102 of Connie Marrero, a former pitcher for the Washington Senators, on April 23, 2014. The title now passes to the 99-year-old Eddie Carnett, who played for three teams during World War II, mostly in the outfield.

Duke’s Tom Butters dies at age 77

The News-Observer
April 1, 2016 10:16 AM

Durham: Former Duke University Vice President and Director of Athletics Tom Butters passed away on Thursday night at the age of 77, according to university officials.

Perhaps best known as the man who hired basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, Butters served 30 years as an administrator at Duke and was the university’s athletic director 1977-1997.

Butters, a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan and a former major league pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, arrived at Duke in 1967 as director of special events. He coached the Blue Devil baseball team, 1968-70, and founded the Iron Dukes fund-raising organization prior to replacing Carl James as director of athletics in 1977.

In 1997, Butters suffered a heart attack on a golf course outside Baltimore and, following quadruple bypass surgery, announced his intention to retire as A.D. at Duke.

The cause of death Thursday was not announced.

“Tom Butters was an icon in college athletics administration. ... Two decades since his retirement, Tom continued to be a giant in college athletics,” said Kevin White, Duke University’s present Director of Athletics. “Simply put, no one served Duke University or the entire profession better than Tom.”

As Duke’s director of athletics, Butters raised millions of dollars, improved facilities and insisted on excellence with integrity in his programs. He was widely recognized as a superb fund raiser, a no-nonsense administrator, savvy negotiator and excellent judge of young talent, Duke officials said in a prepared statement .

In 1980, Mike Krzyzewski was a young, relatively unknown basketball coach from Army when Butters hired him to lead Dukle’s program. After Duke and Krzyzewski endured 17-loss seasons in his second and third years, Butters gave his coach a vote of confidence with a contract extension in the middle of the 1984 season. That decision to stay the course proved to be one of Butters’ best; Krzyzewski established Duke as one of the premier programs in the country.

During Butters’ tenure, he also hired coaching standouts Jamie Ashworth (women’s tennis), Dan Brooks (women’s golf), Gail Goestenkors (women’s basketball), Kerstin Kimel (women’s lacrosse), Mike Pressler (men’s lacrosse), John Rennie (men’s soccer) and Steve Spurrier (football). He also oversaw the addition of the women’s soccer, women’s track & field and women’s lacrosse programs as well as the creation of the Duke Athletics Hall of the Fame.

As a member of the NCAA Basketball Committee from 1989-94, Butters was instrumental in the $1 billion deal struck with CBS Sports for the broadcast rights to March Madness. Closer to home, he raised millions of dollars to update facilities and initiated a scholarship endowment program that helped Duke focus its resources in sports that could be competitive for championships.

Butters, an avid golfer, also spearheaded the fund raising efforts for the redesign of the Duke University Golf Club in 1994 that helped bring the 2001 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship to Durham.

Duke Athletics rose to new heights under Butters with the school’s first NCAA team championship (men’s soccer; 1986), landmark back-to-back national titles in men’s basketball (1991-92), the Blue Devils’ first ACC football championship and bowl bid (1989) since the 1960s, and the emergence of one of the top women’s athletics programs in the country. Duke won 40 ACC team titles during Butters’ term as AD, almost twice as many as had been accomplished during its previous 24 years of conference membership.

Duke annually graduated over 95 percent of its student athletes during Butters’ regime, highlighted by nine Academic Achievement Awards for leading the nation in football graduation rate between 1981 and 1997. Butters’ efforts to promote athletic success as well as academic excellence was reward in 1996, when he received a lifetime achievement honor from the All-American Football Foundation, the Gen. Robert R. Neyland Award for Athletic Directors.

Butters also served as chairman of the College Football Association’s football championship study committee and was ranked as one of the Top 50 Most Powerful People in Sports during the mid-1990s. In 1999, Butters was inducted into the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame, which is located in a building named in his honor, the Schwartz-Butters Center adjacent to Cameron Indoor Stadium. He was also inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

“His legacy stands as one of the greatest in this industry, for his track record of hiring outstanding coaches, innovating fundraising models, and, most importantly, creating a culture of unparalleled integrity at Duke that still stands as a model for all intercollegiate athletics,” White said.

“To be sure, Tom will be sorely missed, especially at Duke, where his impact is still felt daily nearly 20 years beyond his tenure. We offer our deepest sympathy to his wife beloved Lynn and to Tom’s amazing family.”

Butters is survived by his wife Lynn, daughter Jill Steidle and son-in-law Ward Steidle of Malvern, Pa., son Bret and daughter-in-law Nancy of Durham, and six grandchildren.

Mourning Puerto Rican Baseball

The former outfielder Orlando Alvarez died yesterday of complications with diabetes

By Ruben A. Rodriguez
Thursday March 31, 2016 - 7:44 PM

Orlando Alvarez a former gardener who saw his career cut short in its principles by a pitch on his face, died today, Thursday, at 64.

Alvarez, who in the seventies was considered one of the main Puerto Rican prospects in baseball, was suffering in recent years from diabetes.

He born in Canovanas. Alvarez was signed by the organization of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1970 when he was 18. He played in the outfield.

In 1973 he made his debut in the majors participating in four challenges. He was a skilled defensive player with a good arm. It was an average hitter with speed on the bases.

"I had many tools. Was good fielding and batting although it was not long footage, "said Carlos Pieve, a former general manager in winter ball.

"It hurt his death a lot. He was a good friend. "

Alvarez had an upward trend in organized baseball until early in his career was hit in the face by a pitch while playing winter ball with the San Juan Senators.

"That bolazo him out of the race. It could have been better player, but that shot him cowering. It was not the same player since, "said Pieve.

Alvarez kept playing after the accident. It was even part of the campeoniles editions of the Bayamon Vaqueros formerly senators in the campaigns of 1974-75 and 1975-76.

In the United States, he was traded to the California Angels and played there until 1976. Later it was part of the franchise of St. Louis, Cincinnati and Philadelphia, where he was active until 1978.

"I pulled him out of retirement. One day I found in Canovanas and saw him physically well. I was the general manager of Arecibo and I took him there, "he said recalling Pieve season 1982-83.

Alvarez was an essential part of that season for the Wolves won their first national championship. Also won the Caribbean Series.

"From my point of view I did you a big favor. Perhaps he had not given that enjoyment in the final part of his career. When I picked I was out of baseball. It was a very serious and responsible person, "Pieve said.

Alvarez also worked as an evaluator of talent in the organization of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Joe Garagiola, a Catcher Who Called a Better Game on TV, Is Dead at 90

By Richard Goldstein
The New York Times
March 23, 2016

Joe Garagiola, who spent nine forgettable seasons in the major leagues as a weak-hitting catcher and then parlayed his witty tales of life as a baseball underachiever into a far more notable career as a folksy broadcaster and television personality, died on Wednesday in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 90.

Major League Baseball announced his death.

Garagiola was propelled from the catcher’s box into the broadcast booth largely by his crowd-pleasing appearance before a United States Senate subcommittee on monopoly practices in April 1954. At the time, he was playing for the Chicago Cubs.

The committee chairman, Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado, had sponsored a bill to make corporate ownership of baseball teams illegal and was targeting one of Garagiola’s former teams, the St. Louis Cardinals, who were owned by the Anheuser-Busch brewery.

Garagiola, who was near the end of his playing career, had been looking for a radio job in St. Louis. Because the advertising agency working on his behalf also represented the brewery, Johnson suggested that the Cardinals were guilty of “tampering” by improperly trying to lure him from the Cubs.

“Senator, how can you tamper with a .250 hitter?” Garagiola said.

His testimony, laced with the self-deprecation and irreverence that would become his trademarks, attracted enthusiastic press coverage and earned him a broadcasting job with the Cardinals.

He went on to be a colorful broadcaster for NBC, which also made him a host of the “Today” show and a game-show personality, always recognizable by his bald head and broad smile.

“The Baseball World of Joe Garagiola,” an NBC pregame show, won a Peabody Award in 1973. Garagiola was cited for a segment titled “The Hill,” in which “he returned to his old neighborhood in St. Louis for a warm portrait capturing with great fidelity a sense of time and place.”

He was later a broadcaster for the Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Garagiola was inducted into the broadcasters’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991 as a recipient of the annual Ford C. Frick Award.

The longtime sportscaster Bob Wolff, who teamed with Garagiola on NBC, admired his style.

“He was a very erudite fellow,” Curt Smith quoted Wolff as saying in “Voices of the Game” (1987), a history of baseball broadcasting. “He’d bring new words to the booth. Instead of saying, ‘A runner almost slid into the shortstop,’ Joe’d say, ‘He almost stapled him to the bag.’ ”

During his playing days, Garagiola spoke at banquets and found he could make people laugh.

“I made a real effort to become a talk-for-pay guy,” he recalled in “Baseball Is a Funny Game,” his collection of anecdotes written in 1960 with Martin Quigley. “Every day I agitated Harry Caray, the St. Louis Cardinal broadcaster, about what a soft job he had. His answer was that if I could hit like I could talk, I wouldn’t have any worries.”

As he had done in his congressional testimony years before, he continued to find humor in his own foibles.

“Each year I don’t play, I get better,” he once observed. “The first year on the banquet trail, I was a former ballplayer, the second year I was great, the third year one of baseball’s stars, and just last year I was introduced as one of baseball’s immortals. The older I get, the more I realize that the worst break I had was playing.”

Joseph Henry Garagiola was born in St. Louis on Feb. 12, 1926, and was raised on the Hill, an Italian working-class neighborhood, where his father, Giovanni, was an immigrant laborer. His best friend and teammate on the makeshift ball fields was a boy who lived across the street, Yogi Berra.

Garagiola joined the Cardinals’ minor league system at 16 while Berra was starting out in the Yankees’ organization. Garagiola made his major league debut with the Cardinals in 1946 and batted .316 in their seven-game World Series victory over the Boston Red Sox that year, getting four hits in Game 4.

That proved the high point of Garagiola’s on-field career. He was traded to the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates during the 1951 season and, after a stint with the Cubs and a few games with the New York Giants, retired after the 1954 season, having played in only 676 games, with a career batting average of .257.

Garagiola had no experience in on-air work, but he felt that all those games when he was not in the lineup had prepared him well. As he told Curt Smith, “I used to sit in the bullpen and say, ‘Why the hell doesn’t he throw the curveball?’ Well, all I had to do to become an announcer was take out the ‘hell.’ ”

Garagiola was hired by the Cardinals’ flagship radio station, KMOX, when his playing days ended and teamed with Caray and Jack Buck. Garagiola was hired by NBC-TV in 1961 for its “Game of the Week,” joining Lindsey Nelson for one season and then working with Wolff. He later teamed with the former Yankee Tony Kubek and then Vin Scully, broadcasting regular-season games along with the playoffs and the World Series.

Garagiola replaced Mel Allen with the Yankees and was a member of their broadcast team from 1965 to 1967, along with Red Barber, Phil Rizzuto and Jerry Coleman. With Berra’s career as a Yankees catcher propelling him toward the Hall of Fame, Garagiola embellished his boyhood friend’s image with his tales of Yogi the Everyman philosopher.

Berra, who died in September, said that he came up with one of his better-known pronouncements, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” while giving Garagiola directions to his home in Montclair, N.J. There really was a fork near his house, and the roadways it split into both wound up at the Berra home.

Garagiola was a broadcast commentator for the Diamondbacks in his later years and retired from broadcasting in February 2013. His son Joe Garagiola Jr. was the general manager of the Diamondbacks and is now Major League Baseball’s senior vice president for standards and on-field operations.

Besides his son, the elder Garagiola is survived by his wife, Audrie; a daughter, Gina; another son, Steve; and eight grandchildren, according to Major League Baseball.

Garagiola had two stints as a host of NBC-TV’s “Today.” In the late 1960s and early ’70s, he worked with Barbara Walters, Hugh Downs and Frank McGee, and in the early 1990s he appeared with Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel. Garagiola was also a host of TV game shows, including “To Tell the Truth” and “He Said, She Said.”

His commentary on the USA Network for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden made him the inspiration for the character Buck Laughlin, played by Fred Willard, in “Best in Show,” Christopher Guest’s 2000 documentary spoof. Garagiola was not amused.

“I think the satire went way over the top,” he told The New York Times.

Garagiola was a longtime president of the Baseball Assistance Team, which provides confidential financial assistance to needy former baseball figures. Warning of the risk of cancer, he campaigned vigorously against the use of chewing tobacco.

In 2013, the Baseball Hall of Fame gave Garagiola the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the game.

Garagiola was serious enough about his TV and radio career, but his on-air persona was anything but. He defined his approach in his 1980 book, “It’s Anybody’s Ballgame,” writing: “I want the broadcast to sound like two guys sitting at the ballpark, talking about the game, with the viewer eavesdropping. It’s not High Mass, and it’s not a seminar — it’s a ballgame.”

Richard Urlage
1933 - 2016

Published in the Kentucky Enquirer on Mar. 13, 2016

Richard (Dick) Urlage, 82, born September 6, 1933 in Covington, KY, son of Charles Urlage and Della (Brewer) Urlage passed from this life on February 14, 2016.

Dick is survived by his wife of 63 years Margie (nee Schroder) Urlage; daughter Connie (Cindy LaBauve) Duncan, son Mick (Judy) Urlage, son Jim (Jane) Urlage, daughter Julie (Brian) Ficker, daughter-in-law Penny Krebs; 9 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

Preceded in death by his son Bill Urlage. Also survived by his sister Betty Ann (Jack) Steiber and his brother Jerry (Barbara) Urlage; as well as many nieces and nephews.

Dick was a proud graduate of Newport Catholic High School where he lettered all 4 years in all 3 sports. He played professional baseball for the New York Giants from 1951-1955 and then played Semi-Pro Baseball in the Buckeye League from 1956-1971.

Dick began his officiating career in 1954 which continued thru 1996 (42 yrs). In the early years he officiated all 3 sports for various Northern Kentucky teams.

Dick went on to umpire Big Ten, SEC, Mid-America, OVC, Southern Conference and Great Lakes Valley Conference. He also had the honor of umpiring 2 NCAA Division II World Series. Included in his many wonderful accomplishments throughout his officiating career was the opportunity to umpire at both Crosley Field and Riverfront Stadium.

Dick was a member of the Newport Catholic Sports Hall of Fame, the Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame, and is acknowledged in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

Dick will be greatly missed by his family and many friends. Memorial Mass to be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on March 19, 2016 at St. Therese Church in Southgate, KY.

Memorial contributions may be made in Dick's name to the Newport Central Catholic Athletic Fund.

Bill Whitby
The James Funeral Home
March 12, 2016

William Edward Whitby, 72, of Huntersville went to be with his Lord on March 12, 2016. He was born on July 29, 1943 in WhitbyNottoway County, VA to the late William and Edna Whitby. Bill signed with the Minnesota Twins in June 1961 as a pitcher. He pitched 1963-65 with the Old Charlotte “Hornets”. He married “Miss Hornet” of 1964 in 1965 and she was his faithful wife of 50 years.

Survivors include his wife Donelle Ranson Whitby; sons, William Brian Whitby (Kim) of Huntersville and Kevin Hunter Whitby (Laura) of Charlotte; grandchildren, Delaney, Blakely and Davis; siblings, Ann Golden, Nancy Kerns and Elsie Shelton. He is preceded in death by his brother Eddie Whitby.

Memorials may be made to Huntersville A.R.P. Church, PO BOX 316, Huntersville, NC 28070 or Hospice of Charlotte, 1420 E 7th St. Charlotte, NC 28204.

A memorials service will be held at 2 PM Saturday, March 19 at Huntersville A.R.P. Church with visitation to follow in the family life center.

James Funeral Home of Huntersville is serving the family.

'Mr. Baseball' Steve Kraly leaves mark in Tier
Lynn Worthy, lworthy@
8:58 p.m. EST March 7, 2016

Steve Kraly, local baseball legend, former New York Yankees pitcher and longtime official scorer at Binghamton Mets games, died at 7:25 a.m. Monday following a long battle with cancer. The Johnson City resident was 86.

Kraly was diagnosed with cancer in February 2015.

“He kept saying he was going to beat it even at the age of 86,” his son Steve said. “He’s my idol.”

Steve said his father had been cared for by many family members, including several from out of state, in recent weeks while staying with his daughter Kathy Palmer in Johnson City. Kathy and Steve’s wife, Lori, led what Steve described as a true “family effort.”

He was predeceased by his wife of 49 years, Irene, who died in 2006. Kraly is survived by four children, Steve a resident of Apalachin, Tom a resident of Whitney Point, Kathy Palmer a Johnson City resident, Bob a resident of Virginia Beach, Va., and six grandchildren.

Calling hours will be held Thursday from 3:30-7:30 p.m. at St. James Roman Catholic Church on Main Street in Johnson City. The funeral service will take place on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. at St. James Roman Catholic Church.

Kraly, a native of Whiting, Indiana, had been a fixture in the press box at B-Mets games since the franchise’s inaugural season in 1992 until last season when his illness prevented him from scoring games on a regular basis.

“Our community just lost one of its icons,” former B-Mets President and co-owner Mike Urda said. “Aside from being a great ambassador for baseball, Steve was one of the finest, most likable human beings I ever met. He had a big heart and he lit up a room when he walked into it. A very classy man who loved his wife, he’ll now be with her probably dancing in heaven. God bless him and his wife. It’s a sad day for this community.”

Kraly, a 5-foot-10, 155-pound left-hander, signed with the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1949. His stops in the minor leagues included a season in Independence, Kansas, in 1949 and Joplin, Missouri, in 1950 before a two-year interruption by his service in the Army.

In 1953, he posted an outstanding 19-2 record and pitched 19 complete games for a Binghamton Triplets team that went on to win the Eastern League championship. He made his major league debut on Aug. 9, and appeared in five games, including three starts.

He went 0-2 with a 3.24 ERA and recorded one save with the Yankees in 1953. In his final start of that season, he allowed one run in eight innings and took the loss as the Yankees fell 1-0 to Cleveland and future Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Lemon. Kraly received a World Series ring as part of the Yankees 1953 championship team.

Kraly went into the Binghamton Baseball Shrine in 1997, and will be inducted into the Greater Binghamton Sports Hall of Fame next month.

Former Press & Sun-Bulletin sports editor and columnist John W. Fox covered the Triplets during Kraly’s historic season.

“He was really highly regarded when he came here,” Fox said. “He just had a tremendous year. He was gone from here on July 31 so his 19-2 was all in, I don’t know how many games they had by then.”

Fox called that year’s Triplets staff “probably as good a pitching staff as Binghamton ever saw.”

After retiring from professional baseball – his last season in the minors was 1960 – Kraly worked for IBM in Owego. He served as official scorer for B-Mets home games from 1992 through the 2014 season. When he spoke about baseball, he had a tendency to draw a captive audience.

“You know what it was, he told great stories about not only his playing days but even his experiences working up in the press box since the B-Mets came to town in the early 90s,” B-Mets general manager Jim Weed said. “He obviously had some great stories of when he played, and those were always fascinating.

“The funny thing is you would think that when you’re with him enough you’d hear some of those stories over and over. You never did. You never heard the same story.”

Kraly remained entrenched as the team’s official scorer for more than 20 years, though he had “retired” on more than one occasion only to return without missing a season.

The B-Mets never actively looked for a replacement because when spring rolled around, Kraly found his way back into the scorer’s seat in the press box.

Scotty Brown, who was the B-Mets general manager from 2005 to 2009, currently works as the general manager of the Triple-A Charlotte Knights of the International League.

“He’s like Mr. Baseball in Binghamton,” Brown said. “He had done it all, seen it all, been through it all and enjoyed it all. He loved the game.”

Brown hasn’t worked in Binghamton in seven years, but still has a signed picture of Kraly framed in his office at the ballpark in Charlotte, N.C. Brown said he’ll remember Kraly most for his love of the game and his feistiness when it came to his rulings as scorer. He’d bark right back at any manager who questioned his call, but all would be forgotten the next day.

Lou Ferraro, a longtime B-Mets employee and a former local baseball coach and umpire, got to know Kraly when Ferraro was part of the Endicott Umpires Association in the 1980s and Kraly served as director of recreation at IBM. Ferraro later had Kraly as a guest speaker when he operated the Triple Cities Baseball Clinic along with longtime Union-Endicott coaches Ed Folli and Pete Sylvester. Kraly once signed and personalized 120 autographed pictures for a group of youth and high school coaches, Ferraro said.

The two later worked together in the press box at B-Mets games. Ferraro recalled one instance in 1997 when the B-Mets hosted a Hall of Fame pitcher who refused to sign autographs or even a ball for a fundraiser for a sick child, and Kraly let loose a tirade before signing the ball himself.

“Steve made him feel about two feet tall,” Ferraro said. “That’s how Steve was. He wasn’t afraid to say what he felt or how it was. That’s what made him the tremendous gentleman he always was.”

Ferraro and current Binghamton High School varsity baseball coach Dave Buchak both described Kraly as opinionated and at times brutally honest, but also kind enough to give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.

Buchak remembers Kraly taking time out to talk with some of his players when he was the varsity baseball coach at Johnson City High School. Buchak considered Kraly’s old-school approach to baseball something he was lucky to have had as a resource in his own coaching career.

“Right in your own home town you had the ability to talk to a guy who played on the same field with some of the best baseball players on the face of the Earth in the history of the game,” Buchak said of his last memory of Kraly. “Just the wealth of knowledge of some of the things he has experienced, the things he has seen, the players he has worked with, that’s my biggest lasting memory.”

Robert Oberton Spicer, Sr.
April 11, 1925 ~ February 27, 2016 (age 90)

The Rogers & Breece Funeral Home
February 29, 2016

Mr. Robert Oberton Spicer, Sr., 90, of Fayetteville died peacefully on Sat. Feb. 27, 2016.

Bob played professional baseball for 15 years and worked at Ed Fleishman & Bros. and also, Devine's Sporting Goods until he retired.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Jesse and Lottie Spicer, his brother, Jesse Spicer, Jr. and sister, Phyllis McArthur.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 69 years, Evelyn Fay Spicer of the home; daughter, Rhonda Carper, and husband, Charlie of Port Orange, Fla.; son, Robert "Bobby" Spicer, Jr. and wife, Rory of Fayetteville; and three grandchildren, Caroline Spicer of Fayetteville, Emily Spicer of Wilmington, and Cooper Wurst of Cullowee; and many other relatives in Cali., Ark., and Va.

A celebration of Bob's life will be held at 11 am Thurs. March 3, 2016 in Snyder Memorial Baptist Church where Bob was a member since 1953. The family will receive friends from 6-8 pm Wed. March 2, 2016 at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in memory of Bob Spicer to HealthKeeperz Hospice or Alzheimer's Society.

Kevin Michael Collins
August 4, 1946 - February 20, 2016

The Fuller Funeral Home
February 24, 2016

Kevin Michael Collins, age 69, passed away suddenly at his winter home in Naples, Florida on February 20, 2016, surrounded by loved ones. Kevin was born on August 4, 1946 in Springfield, Massachusetts to Michael and Virginia (Munyan) Collins. After a stellar schoolboy athletic career at Springfield Technical High School in Massachusetts, Kevin accepted an offer from the New York Mets and for the better part of the next ten years, played professional baseball. He was a hard-nosed, steady utility player for a number of teams including the Detroit Tigers and the Montreal Expos.

While with Montreal, he hit the first ever pinch-hit home run for that organization. Kevin played baseball at a time when a player’s salary was about the same as a teacher or police officer; a time, as he used to say, when baseball was simply “about a ball, a bat and a glove”.

When he finally hung up his cleats, he had no complaints, and no regrets. "I was a guy who played the game the right way," he said in an interview once, "Nobody ever had to tell me how to compete. I… gave you all I had, whether or not that was enough".

In his youth, he benefited from his local Boys and Girls Club and later went on to devote much of his time and abilities to that organization. In 1974, he left baseball to settle with his young family in the metro Detroit area and took a job with Summa-Harrison Metal Products and then later with Mexican Industries, an auto parts supplier in southwest Detroit.

Kevin continued to share his love of the game with talented young ball players. As the Head Coach and Player Manager, Kevin competed in the Detroit Federal League as well as the Pontiac Men’s Class A League gaining local, regional and national attention year after year at the AABC Stan Musial World Series.

Kevin had a passion not only for sports, but also politics and current events and was always up for a lively discussion. His smile and engaging nature always made you feel like you were a lifelong friend. He was always ready, too, to tell a good story or share advice if asked, and you could always count on his use of “colorful” language. Kevin never met a dog he didn’t like and was always at the ready to lavish them with love and treats. He cherished his family and friends and there was no one he loved more than his three devoted grandchildren. If you were lucky enough to rub shoulders with Kevin Collins, there's no doubt that you were better for it.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and his in-laws, Armand and Eileen (Webb) Laflamme.

He is survived by his loving wife, Linda Marie (Laflamme) Collins, who he met at age 17 on the day he signed his first major league baseball contract and with whom he recently celebrated his 48th wedding anniversary. He is cherished and survived by his two children, Michael (Kirsten) Collins and Kelly (Keith) Binkowski, both of Michigan, and leaves behind his three biggest fans, grandchildren Joseph Binkowski, Katherine Binkowski and Lucas Collins. He also leaves behind his two sisters, Nancy (John) Pollard and Kathleen (Ralph) Disa, and sister-in-law Ann (John) Komer, of Massachusetts. He will be celebrated and remembered by all who knew him, including his nieces, nephews, godchildren and countless friends and extended family.

A Celebration of His Life will take place at a later date in both Michigan and his home state of Massachusetts. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Naples Humane Society.

Broadcasting legend, White Sox exec Einhorn, 80, mourned

By Scott Merkin
February 25th, 2016

Glendale, Ariz. -- Eddie Einhorn, a White Sox executive for 35 seasons who spent six decades in the sports and broadcasting industries, died late Tuesday night in New Jersey from complications following a stroke. He was 80.

"Eddie was a creative whirlwind whose ideas -- many of them far ahead of their time -- changed the landscape of sports, and sports on television, forever," White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said. "He was a man of many interests, projects, ideas and opinions, and we all will miss him dearly.

"It is exceedingly rare in this day and age to have enjoyed a friendship and a working partnership that lasted our lifetimes. We celebrated many great moments together."

Einhorn concluded his 25th season as vice chairman of the Chicago White Sox in 2015. He was the team's president and chief operating officer from 1981-90, and he was a member of the Chicago Bulls' board of directors as he continued his long-standing involvement with Reinsdorf that dated to law school at Northwestern. The two headed a limited partnership that purchased the White Sox in 1981.

"All of us at Major League Baseball are deeply saddened by the loss of White Sox vice chairman Eddie Einhorn, a leader in the world of sports and broadcasting," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "He was a sports television pioneer and a huge champion of youth baseball. In recent years, he bridged those twin passions through the National Youth Baseball Championships, which appeared on MLB Network and

"A proud and loyal leader of the White Sox, owned by his longtime friend Jerry Reinsdorf, Eddie took delight in the franchise's momentous 2005 world championship. Most of all, for decades Eddie was a friend to seemingly all in the baseball and the broader sports communities. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Eddie's wife Ann, their daughter -- and our former colleague -- Jenny, their son Jeff, and their entire family, as well as his countless friends throughout the White Sox organization and our game as a whole."

Einhorn was the founder and chairman of TVS Television Network, a leader in sports programming in the 1970s. The TVS telecast of college basketball's "Game of the Century" between the Houston Cougars and the UCLA Bruins at the Astrodome in 1968 is credited for the growth in popularity of college basketball on television.

The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City inducted Einhorn as a contributor in 2011 for his vision in founding TVS in 1965 and for his role in catapulting college basketball into national prominence. Presented by Dick Enberg, Einhorn was joined in the class by players James Worthy, Ralph Sampson, Cazzie Russell and Chris Mullin; coaches Bob Knight and Eddie Sutton; and fellow contributor Joe Vancisin.

"He was an interesting man and a great man," White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider said of Einhorn. "I've known him probably since day one, since Jerry and Eddie took over. He was an incredibly brilliant guy.

"A lot of people didn't know how brilliant he was. He did a lot with [pro] wrestling. He did a lot with the NCAA Tournament, which is basically his brainchild. He and I had a very special relationship with his family and my family and everything else. It really is a very sad day about that happening."

Einhorn authored a book entitled "How March Became Madness." It traced his days of televising college basketball in the 1960s to the present through interviews with more than 50 people responsible for the game's growth, including John Wooden, Elvin Hayes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Digger Phelps and Enberg.

In an extensive interview with 10 years ago, not long after Chicago's World Series victory, Einhorn also touched on his outlook for the future. He was in very good health at the time after undergoing a kidney transplant in October 2004.

"You just stay healthy and whatever you pick off from now on is gravy," Einhorn said. "I remember the words of a fellow named Joe E. Lewis, who was an old comedian. At the end of his act, he would say, 'You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough.'

"That's how I live my life. I still plan to do some more things. I came from a kidney transplant a couple of years ago to an incredible year here. If I can keep on a streak like this, it would be pretty nice."

During his 30-plus years in baseball, Einhorn was a member of MLB's Schedule Format Committee, the Professional Baseball Association Committee and Player Development Committee, and was a member of the Television Committee from 1992-95. He was a key architect of The Baseball Network, MLB's joint broadcasting venture. Also recognized as the architect of baseball's first billion-dollar television contract, Einhorn was instrumental in negotiating MLB's 1990 deal with CBS and ESPN.

In 1989, Einhorn was appointed television consultant to the United States Olympic Committee and was responsible for a 200-hour Olympic television package that debuted in 1990. He was a television consultant for the U.S. Figure Skating Association for many years. Prior to joining Reinsdorf with the White Sox in 1981, Einhorn was the executive producer of "CBS Sports Spectacular." At CBS, he was responsible for more than 100 hours of programming per year and won an Emmy Award for "The Gossamer Albatross, Flight of Imagination," in 1980.

Of the many awards Einhorn received during his career, he most notably was honored by his hometown of Paterson, N.J., with the Mayor's Award for civic contribution. Einhorn founded Cooperstown Baseball World, a sports camp complex for kids in Oneonta, N.Y. As a longtime advocate of youth baseball, Einhorn was responsible for developing the National Youth Baseball Championship (NYBC), a tournament that crowns 10U through 14U national champions from the major youth travel baseball organizations.

Services will be held Sunday at noon ET at Louis Suburban Chapel in Fair Lawn, N.J. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Einhorn's name to the Professional Scouts Foundation.

The White Sox will honor Einhorn, who worked as a vendor at Comiskey Park from 1959-60, by wearing a sleeve patch during the regular season.

Einhorn stayed in the background during the World Series championship in 2005, but much like everyone else in the organization, he relished the amazing title run.

"It's like we were geniuses," Einhorn said in '06. "We've had plans for 25 years and thought we were pretty cool, but we never did it. This time the magic took."

White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams called Einhorn "one of the 10 greatest characters" that he's ever met in his life, and encouraged people to learn what Einhorn did in the landscape of sports television. Einhorn also was one of Williams' staunchest supporters in the early part of the decade and years before the franchise's 2005 World Series title, even when Williams was going for it and occasionally swinging and missing.

"I was taking some heat in the media and from some of our fans, and he was one of the guys that would make sure he would stop in and give a little bit of encouragement to continue on," Williams said. "I can hear him saying now, 'Keep swinging away because we are starving for a championship here. I'm loving what you are doing. Don't pay attention to anyone. Just keep swinging away for the fences.'

"Just little things like that, little bits of encouragement like that. They go a long way."

Manager Robin Ventura described Einhorn as "a great, great man," who was always fun to be around.

"I loved talking TV and college basketball, and not only what he meant to that sport, but sports in general," Ventura said. "A special man, and [he] was around here for a long time. A lot of people on staff knew him really well. It's sad."

Brock Pemberton, 62

The Daily Ardmoreite
Feb. 21, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Brock Pemberton, 62, passed away Wednesday, February 17, 2016.

Brock was born in Tulsa, Okla., in 1953 to Carol and Cliff Pemberton.

His family moved to southern California in 1968 where it was the wildest of times and the best of times (with burning leaves). Brock graduated from Marine High School in 1972. At that time he earned co-player of the year in California for baseball and was drafted with the New York Mets in the 6th round. He played in the minor leagues from 1972-1974 during his Triple AAA season he won the Golden Glove award.

He played one year in the Majors and then became player/coach for the Macon Georgia Peaches Triple AAA Club.

Brock found his passion in New Mexico working as a Professional Landscaping and Commercial Irrigation Supervisor at State Parks, State and Federal Indian Reservations and Colleges.

Brock was a free spirit. He loved the outdoors, fishing, hunting and gardening. He was also a fabulous baker and cook.

He was married for 22 years and moved to Ardmore, Okla., in June of 2011.

Brock is preceded in death by his parents, Cliff and Carol Pemberton.

Brock is survived by one brother, 2 sisters, brothers and sisters-in-laws, nieces, nephews and cousins.

No services are scheduled at this time.

Arrangements are under the direction of Harvey-Douglas Funeral Home.

Original SF Giant Jim Davenport dies

By Henry Schulman
The San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, February 19, 2016 10:11 am PST

Jim Davenport, an original San Franciso Giant who went on to a long career with the organization after his playing days as a third baseman, has died, the Giants announced Friday morning. He was 82.

The team said he died Thursday night in Redwood City of heart failure. He had been in ill health.

Davenport came up with the Giants in 1958, their first year in San Francisco, and spent his entire 12-year playing career in the orange and black. He was a career .258 hitter.

Davenport also served as a coach and briefly as manager. He was hired for the start of the 1985 season and was replaced after 56-88 start when owner Bob Lurie changed the management team and hired Al Rosen as general manager, and Rosen installed Roger Craig as manager.

Davenport, known as “Davvy,” continued to work for the Giants as a coach, scout and instructor.

The Giants issued a statement by president Larry Baer that read, “The passing of Jim Davenport brings great sadness to our organization. “Jim had a wonderful spirit and was a great Giant. We will always remember Davvy. We express our deepest condolences to his family and will have them in our thoughts and prayers.”

Felipe Alou, who followed Davenport to the majors in 1958, called the Alabama native “a big, big player. There were some big players in that team, Hall of Fame type of guys, and I’m telling you that Davenport was a big player and a big part of the team.”

Alou said considered Davenport a great teammate.

“He, to me, was the best teammate that I had outside of the Latinos,” he said. ‘The guy being from the South, Alabama, he always cared for us. Incredible individual. We felt, the Latinos, like he was one of us.”

Giants executive vice president Brian Sabean said Davenport’s death is “tough on all of us,” personally and professtionally. Sabean counted Davenport, along with Joe Amalfitano and Jack Hiatt, as a a trio of great instructors who had a big impact on Giants prospects.

Former A's player Tony Phillips dies

By John Hickey
The Mercury News
February 19, 2016 10:28:14 AM PST

OAKLAND -- Tony Phillips, who started out playing for the A's under Billy Martin and went on to an 18-year career as one of baseball's most versatile players, has died, the A's announced Friday.

The cause of his death, which occurred on Wednesday, was an apparent heart attack.

The highlight of Phillips' career was fielding the ground ball hit by the Giants' Brett Butler and flipping it to closer Dennis Eckersley at first base for the final out of the 1989 World Series, a 4-0 sweep by the A's.

"We already knew that was gonna happen," Phillips said of the sweep during an interview last summer before playing a few games with the independent Pittsburg Diamonds. "I think we had beat 'em like 16 straight in spring training."

Phillips is the third player from the A's championship teams from 1988-90 to have died in less than two years. Pitcher Bob Welch passed in June of 2014 and outfielder Dave Henderson died in December. The A's won three straight American League pennants and the '89 World Series from 1988-90.

Phillips, a switch-hitter, parlayed his 1989 World Series ring into a multiple-year contract with the Detroit Tigers, becoming one of the game's best on-base and run-producing players. He led the American League in walks with 132 in 1993, a year after he had 114 runs and 114 walks for the Tigers, the best in the league.

In 1993 he became the only player in big league history to ever have 100 hits, walks, runs and strikeouts while hitting fewer than 10 homers.

Phillips hit seven homers that year, but had 19 in 1994, his last year with the Tigers. He had a career-best 27 in 1995, his first year with the Angels. He finished his career in Oakland under Art Howe, hitting .244 with 15 homers in 106 games while playing six positions in addition to serving as a designated hitter.

Phillips, who lived in Scottsdale, Arizona, continued to play baseball because he liked the game, playing for the Yuma Scorpions in the independent North American League before the team folded in 2012.

Last summer he played a few games for the independent Pittsburg Diamonds, but he struggled and the team dropped him after a few games.

Virgil Jester made it from North to big leagues

By Irv Moss
The Denver Post
February 16, 2016 08:08:22 PM MST

The Virgil Jester chapter in Denver's baseball history has closed.

Randy Jester, Virgil's son, announced Tuesday that his dad died of pneumonia early Monday morning in a care center. Virgil Jester, 88, came out of Denver North High School and became a fixture in Denver baseball. Randy Jester said there will be no services.

During his career, Virgil Jester played three seasons with the Denver Bears and played in the major leagues with the Braves, first in Boston and then Milwaukee. He started as an infielder but was quickly moved to the pitching mound because his fastball reached speeds into the 90 mph range.

Jester signed a contract with the Boston Braves in 1947 for $2,500. As he looked back on his career a few years ago, he said he was born 55 years too soon, missing the big salaries that came to major-league baseball.

Jester pitched in the old Denver Post tournament at Merchants Park on South Broadway. He once pitched against Hall of Famer Satchel Paige.

Jester compiled a major-league record of 3-5 in 21 games with a 3.84 ERA.

Jester retired from baseball after the 1959 season. He was back with the Bears for his final year.

"That was the end of it," Jester said of his baseball career. "I got tired of it. I enjoyed baseball for a while, but it was time to get out of it and go on with my life."

Nickname Hall of Famer Walt 'No-Neck' Williams dies at 72

By Scott Ridge
The Sporting News
January 27, 2016 4:04pm EST

Walt Williams, a former outfielder for the White Sox in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, died Saturday at the age of 72.

Although a solid .270 hitter in 10-year career, Williams will be best known for one of baseball's all-time great nicknames — “No-Neck.”

Walt “No-Neck” Williams was just 5-6, 165 pounds during his playing days. He played the last three years of his career with the Indians and Yankees before retiring in 1975.

Williams played in an era when funky nicknames were the norm. Catfish Hunter, Blue Moon Odom and Goose Gossage were among Williams’ many colorful contemporaries.

Williams’ best season was 1969 when he finished sixth in the AL in batting (.304 in 507 ABs)

Williams was living in Abilene, Texas, at the time of his death. Services will be Saturday in Brownwood, Texas.

He finished his career with 33 homers and 173 RBIs. He started with the Astros in 1964 but had only 10 at-bats in the National League before moving to Chicago of the American League.

Clyde Mashore, former major league player and Clayton Valley star, dies

Bay Area News Group
January 26, 2016 08:02:17 PM PST

Clyde Mashore, who spent five seasons in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds and Montreal Expos, has died. He was 70.

Mashore, who appeared in 241 major league games, died Sunday at his home in Brentwood.

A three-sport star at Clayton Valley High, Mashore joined the Reds in 1964 as a free agent. He played in two games for the Reds in 1969, then was traded to Montreal midway through the 1970 season for outfielder Ty Cline. Mashore played all three outfields as well as second and third base. He was a .208 lifetime hitter.

His sons, Damon and Justin, are also Clayton Valley grads both working in baseball. Damon, an outfielder with the A's during the 1996-97 seasons, is the minor league hitting coordinator for the Dodgers. Justin will be a coach this season with the Texas Rangers.

Clyde Mashore's grandson is Richard Rodgers Jr., the former Cal tight end now with the Green Bay Packers.

Ron Stillwell, longtime area baseball coach, dies at 76

By Jim Carlisle
The Ventura County Star
January 26, 2016

Ron Stillwell, who as a coach helped build the baseball programs at Thousand Oaks High, Cal Lutheran and Moorpark College, and as a player captained a national champion USC team, died Monday after a battle with cancer. He was 76.

Stillwell had lived in Lake Almanor. His son Rod confirmed his father's passing in a Facebook post.

Known for his dry sense of humor and skillful coaching ability, Ron Stillwell played shortstop at USC and captained its national championship team in 1961.

A week after graduating from USC, Stillwell signed a contract with the Washington Senators, but his major league career was limited to only 14 games because of an injury.

"He was playing shortstop," former Oxnard College coach Jerry White recalled Tuesday. "He went out on a fly ball, a pop-up, and the left fielder ran into him and it was an eye injury. He never did fully recover from that well enough to continue his career."

Stillwell took a job in 1964 at Thousand Oaks High when it was still part of the Oxnard Union High School District and taught there 33 years, coaching for 25. In addition to baseball, he also coached cross country and freshman basketball at various times.

George Contreras was just beginning his coaching career just before Stillwell left to coach at Cal Lutheran. While Contreras went on to coach primarily football, he was junior varsity baseball coach in 1971 under Stillwell.

"He combined a great sense of humor with a great professional attitude at all times," Contreras said. "... I just remember that kind of an impish look he'd get on his face when he was cracking a joke or bringing a little more sunshine into your life on a daily basis."

While still teaching at Thousand Oaks High, Stillwell was baseball coach at Cal Lutheran in 1972-1978, where he had a record of 139-100-1 (.581) and was named NAIA Coach of the Year in 1976. He was hired by Bob Shoup, who was then the athletic director.

"Ron was one of those really personable people that seemed to bring out the best in his players," Shoup said from his home in San Marcos, "and we were just privileged to have him at Cal Lutheran because I think he really put the foundation of the program together that some of the (later) coaches have benefited from."

Stillwell was a walk-on coach at Moorpark College in 1985-1989, where he was 91-88 (.508).

"I don't know that you're going to find anybody that's going to say anything but that he was just a nice, nice man," said White, who coached against Stillwell at Oxnard and coached with him at clinics. The two also officiated high school basketball games together.

Stillwell was twice selected to manage a U.S. college all-star team against a Japanese team.

Ronald Roy Stillwell was born Dec. 3, 1939, in Los Angeles and graduated from Burbank-Burroughs High in 1957. He was elected to the Ventura County Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

"I think I'm proudest of the fact I tried to teach baseball the right way," he told The Star at his induction. "I wanted my kids to learn how to play baseball with the proper fundamentals, but I also wanted them to have fun while they did it."

Stillwell's son Kurt was the second pick of the 1983 amateur draft by the Cincinnati Reds and played in the majors for nine seasons. His younger son Rod — named after former USC baseball coach Rod Dedeaux — played college ball at Arkansas and advanced, like his father, to the College World Series in 1989.

Rod was drafted by the Kansas City Royals and played two season of Class A minor league ball. He and his wife Valerie both teach at Thousand Oaks High.

In addition to Kurt and Rod, Stillwell is survived by Jan, his wife of 55 years, and their oldest son Scott.

The Thousand Oaks High Alumni Association said in a Facebook post a memorial will be held in the spring in Lake Almanor.

Red Sox Hall of Famer Sullivan passes away

Two-time All-Star, subject of famed Norman Rockwell painting, was 85

By Spencer Fordin / | January 20th, 2016

Former Red Sox pitcher Frank Sullivan, a two-time All-Star during an eventful 11-season playing career, passed away Tuesday at the age of 85. Sullivan, who led Boston in ERA for four straight seasons from 1954-57, was just four days shy of his 86th birthday.

Sullivan signed with the team as an amateur in 1948, and after serving in the Army during the Korean War, made his big league debut in '53. He pushed into the team's starting rotation in '54 and was credited with a team-high 15 wins.

A native of Hollywood, Calif., Sullivan was named to the All-Star team in 1955, when he notched an 18-13 record with a 2.91 ERA. He was an All-Star again in '56 and led the Major Leagues in WHIP (1.06) in '57, and the Red Sox traded him to Philadelphia after the '60 season.

Sullivan was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2008. In addition to his accomplishments on the field, Sullivan was also one of the Red Sox players immortalized in Norman Rockwell's famed 1957 painting "The Rookie."

The Red Sox tweeted their condolences: "We're sending our thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of Frank Sullivan."

Following his playing career, Sullivan lived in Hawaii for a half-century and served as a director of golf for a number of local courses. He wrote a book titled "Life is More Than 9 Innings: Memories of a Boston Red Sox Relief Pitcher," which was published in 2009, and last visited Fenway Park in '14.

Sullivan is survived by his wife Marilyn, his sons Mike and Mark, his daughter-in-law Leihina, his grandson Kapono and his granddaughters Kea, Summer and Lauren.

USD’s Kerry Dineen Dies at 63; .409 Hitter Had Brief Yankees Career

By Ken Stone
The Times Of San Diego
January 17, 2016

University of San Diego is mourning former Toreros baseball star Kerry Michael Dineen, who had a .409 college batting average and briefly played for the New York Yankees.

Dineen, an all-CIF player for Chula Vista High School, died Nov. 21, according to USD.

“Kerry Dineen was one of those special players not everyone has the privilege of coaching,” said former USD coach John “JC” Cunningham. “He loved the game and was immune to pressure.”

A first cousin of fellow former major leaguer Ken Henderson, Dineen was an All-American all three years at USD (1971-1973) and was the first Torero to make it to the major leagues — and the only one to finish above .400 as a batter.

He was inducted into USD’s Chet & Marguerite Pagni Family Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.

Outfielder Dineen, a left-handed hitter and thrower, was taken by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 1973 amateur draft and debuted in pinstripes against the Boston Red Sox on June 14, 1975.

A year later, his outing of May 21, 1976, was recalled by Bill Lewers in his book “Six Decades of Baseball: A Personal Narrative.”

“This was the night after the famous brawl when Carlton Fisk duked it out with Thurman Munson and Bill Lee suffered a serious arm injury,” Lewers wrote. “The game I saw was an exciting game in its own right. It was finally won by the Yankees in the bottom of the 12th on an RBI single by rookie outfielder Kerry Dineen.

“It was the first RBI of his major-league career and would represent 50 percent of his final career total.”

His last major-league year was 1978 with the Philadelphia Phillies. He played only 16 games in the major leagues, according to, but finished with a batting average of .324.

A death notice in The San Diego Union-Tribune said Kerry is survived by his wife, Jamie, and his sons Kerry Jr. and Cory, his daughter, Katie, her husband, Eddie, and grandchildren Stephen, Emilly and Mackenna.

A celebration of life will be held at 4 p.m. Jan. 23 at the American Legion Post 434, 47 Fifth Ave. in Chula Vista, where he grew up.

Former Yankees pitcher Luis Arroyo dead at 88

The New York Daily News
Associated Press
Thursday, January 14, 2016, 2:00 AM

Former All-Star pitcher Luis Arroyo has died. He was 88.

The New York Yankees say Arroyo’s daughter, Milagros, told the team Wednesday night that he had died earlier in the day in Puerto Rico. She said he had been diagnosed last month with cancer.

Arroyo helped pitch the Yankees to the 1961 World Series championship. The 5-foot-8 lefty was 15-5 with a major league-leading 29 saves that season, then earned another victory in the Series against Cincinnati.

Arroyo was an All-Star as a rookie starter with St. Louis in 1955 and again in 1961. Featuring a screwball, he was 40-32 with 45 saves and a 3.93 ERA in eight seasons with the Cardinals, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and the Yankees.

According to, Arroyo was the first Puerto Rican-born player to appear for the Yankees. He started with them in 1960 and was a key part of their AL pennant-winning staff.

Monte Irvin, Giants’ Hall of Famer, dies at 96

By John Shea
Tuesday, January 12, 2016 7:11 pm

Hall of Famer Monte Irvin, a Negro Leagues legend and one of the Giants’ first two African American players, died Monday night of natural causes at his Houston home. He was 96.

Mr. Irvin was a candidate to become baseball’s first African American player before Branch Rickey of the Dodgers signed Jackie Robinson, who debuted in 1947. Two years later, on July 8, 1949, Mr. Irvin played his first Giants game, along with Hank Thompson.

“Monte helped me so much when I came up,” Willie Mays said of his mentor in a phone interview. “He made me aware of a lot of things. He talked to me about life and baseball. I’m shocked.”

Mays last saw Mr. Irvin at the White House in June when President Obama honored the Giants for winning the 2014 World Series. In May, when the Giants were playing a series in Houston, team executives visited with Mr. Irvin to present him a World Series ring and invite him to Washington.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Mr. Irvin said after receiving the ring. “Baseball has been my life since I was 8 years old.”

Mr. Irvin grew up in New Jersey. He excelled in multiple sports in high school and college, and rose to prominence in the Negro Leagues with the Newark Eagles. The long-segregated major leagues denied Mr. Irvin during much of his prime; he joined the Giants at 30.

Mr. Irvin made an immediate impact with the Giants and was instrumental in the great pennant run of 1951 when they overcame the Dodgers’ 13½-game lead. He batted .312 with 24 homers and a league-high 121 RBIs.

Mays, Thompson and Mr. Irvin formed the majors’ first all-black outfield.

The Giants retired his No. 20 in 2010.

“Monte was a true gentleman whose exceptional baseball talent was only surpassed by his character and kindness,” Giants CEO Larry Baer said. “He was a great ambassador for the game throughout his playing career and beyond.”

As a premier ballplayer of high standards and character, Mr. Irvin was hailed by many of his Negro Leagues peers as the perfect candidate to break baseball’s color line. He was on Rickey’s short list, along with Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, Larry Doby and Robinson, but was not in top baseball shape after serving in the Army during World War II.

Mr. Irvin wanted to hone his skills before pursuing the majors. He was discharged Sept. 1, 1945, and Rickey signed Robinson seven weeks later, Oct. 23. Also, Mr. Irvin’s Negro Leagues team wanted compensation for losing the five-tool player, and Rickey was reluctant to pay.

“It could’ve been (me), but I don’t think about that,” Mr. Irvin told The Chronicle in 2010. “I think about Jackie getting a chance, setting a high standard and making it possible for the rest of us to come along.”

Mr. Irvin played seven seasons for the Giants, including with the 1954 team that swept Cleveland in the World Series, and retired after playing the 1956 season for the Chicago Cubs. He worked as a New York Mets scout and assistant public-relations director for Major League Baseball, the first black man appointed to an MLB executive position, and later was a special assistant in the commissioner’s office.

“The reason we had an all-black outfield in ’51 is Don Mueller got hurt, so Hank Thompson was a legitimate replacement,” Irvin said in a Chronicle interview. “So what? People talk about, ‘You’re the first to do this. You’re the first to do that.’ Don’t dwell on race all the time.

“Everyone says we have our first African American president. Has there ever been a Jewish president? An Italian president? They don’t say a damn thing about that. You think we’re still fighting the Civil War or something. If you want to mention it in passing, OK. But don’t dwell on it.

“But again, I want to pay tribute to Jackie for what he did. With Mays and (Hank) Aaron and Frank Robinson and Bob Gibson, it probably would’ve happened anyway in time, but he made it easier — and that much quicker for us by succeeding. He became a drawing card, and I applaud him for all of that.”

Mays recalled a liquor store he and Mr. Irvin opened in Brooklyn, but the partnership was short-lived.

Giants manager Leo Durocher “made me get out of it. He said, ‘You can’t have a liquor store in Brooklyn,’” said Mays, citing a Giants-run business in the Dodgers’ territory.

Mays credited Mr. Irvin, his onetime roommate, for helping to create openings for him with the Birmingham Black Barons (Mays’ Negro Leagues team) in 1948 and Triple-A Minneapolis in 1951, as well as with the Giants.

“He told people about me, so by the time I got there, people knew who I was,” Mays said. “He taught me a lot of things about the majors when I came up in ’51. He lived in Orange, N.J., right in front of a park, and we’d walk through the park talking. I was a young man. He taught me about spring training, about traveling, where to go, how to be treated, how to treat others.

“It was a wonderful learning experience.”

Alton Leo Brown

Published in The Virginian Pilot on Jan. 12, 2016

Virginia Beach - Alton Leo "Deacon" Brown, 90, passed away peacefully at home on January 10, 2016, surrounded by his loved ones.

Al was born in Norfolk to the late Herbert and Naomi Ward Brown. He was preceded in death by one son, Thomas Steven Brown; his sisters, Dorothy Marker, Malvine Hudgins and Ruby Flowers; and his brothers Elliott "Zeke" Brown, Sr. and Tommy Brown.

Al joined the U.S. Army (1944-46) and served in the European theater, primarily in Italy and Germany. It was during his time in the service that he played baseball for the first time. When he returned home he pitched in local city leagues until 1948, when he began his professional baseball career as a pitcher for the Roanoke Rapids Jays. While with the Jays, Al was voted the Coastal Plains League MVP in 1950.

Al made his Major League debut in 1951, pitching for the Washington Senators. In his first game as a Senator, he walked Joe DiMaggio and held the Yankees scoreless, allowing just two hits in his two-inning debut. He pitched six more games with the Senators before returning to the minors with the Chattanooga Lookouts. Al would go on to pitch several more seasons, having stints with the Richmond Colts, Norfolk Tars, and York White Roses. It was with the White Roses where he befriended a talented young kid named Brooks Robinson, who would remain a lifelong friend.

After retiring from baseball in 1956, Al returned to work as a longshoreman in Norfolk. He retired from ILA Local 1624 and Southern Stevedoring in 1980. Al was also an avid golfer, obtaining a 3 handicap, and was a member of Norfolk Moose Lodge #39, VFW Post 4809, and the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 67 years, Shirley Biggs Brown; his daughters, Leslie Fournier (Mike), Kay Brown (Robert Read) and Kelly Howard; his son, Alton Matthew Brown; four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

At Al's request, there will be no service. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Kempsville Volunteer Rescue Squad at P.O. Box 62345, Virginia Beach, VA 23466. Cremation Society of Virginia is handling the arrangements.

Lance G. Rautzhan
January 10, 2016

Lance G. Rautzhan, 63, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., passed from this life into eternal life Saturday at home with his wife, Crystal, and daughter, Jaime, by his side.

Born in Pottsville, Aug. 20, 1952, Lance was a son of Martha Sterner and the late William Rautzhan Sr.

In addition to his father, Lance was preceded in death by his brother, William Rautzhan Jr.

Lance was a member of the Blue Mountain High School, Class of 1970; after leaving high school, he was drafted in the third round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lance pitched in the 1977 and 1978 World Series. While playing baseball, Lance also served in the Coast Guard Reserves.

After his baseball career, Lance owned and operated Rautzhan’s Crossroads Hotel, Adamsdale.

Due to his avid love of golf and warm weather, he and Crystal relocated to Myrtle Beach in 2003. Lance last worked for Prestige Homes, Myrtle Beach.

Lance was a proud member of the Blue Mountain High School Sports Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Allen-Rogowicz Chapter Sports Hall of Fame and, in November 2014, surrounded by family and friends, he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

Lance was by far the definition of a great husband, father and friend as evidenced by the many people that supported him during his eight-year battle with cancer. He celebrated life daily and will never be forgotten.

In addition to his best friend and loving wife of 22 years, Crystal K. Rautzhan, Lance is survived by two dedicated and loving children, his son, Lance W. Rautzhan, husband of Megan, and his daughter, Jaime Rautzhan Clemas, wife of Joseph; brothers, Brian Rautzhan, husband of Terry, Gregory Rautzhan, husband of Denise; sister-in-law, Kendal, wife of the late William Rautzhan Jr.; two grandsons, whom he absolutely adored, Ryan and Landon Clemas; nieces, nephews and many wonderful friends.

Condolences may be sent to wife, Crystal, at 2472 Covington Drive, Myrtle Beach, SC 29579 and/or his son, Lance, and daughter, Jaime, at 73 W. Second Mountain Road, Pottsville, PA 17901. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date at the convenience of the family.

Services Scheduled For Long Time Culver Resident and Chicago White Sox Star

The Culver City Observer
January 7, 2016

Longtime Culver City resident James (Jim) McAnany died on December 16 at the age of 79.

A memorial mass is scheduled for Saturday, January 9 at 11 am at St. Peter Cleaver Catholic Church, 2380 Stow St. in Simi Valley.

McAnany lived in Culver City for more than 30 years and was active in local civic and church organizations. He was an active member of St. Augustine church in Culver City for many years.

A devoted Grandfather. he moved to Simi Valley to be closer to his Grandchildren.

He owned and operated Norman Eck Insurance for many years then joined his son Jimmy McAnany at Neilson/McAnany Insurance in Simi Valley which is owned by his son.

McAnany was active with youth sports with the Babe Ruth Little League and hosting families for the tournaments. He supported LMU and Loyola High School booster clubs along with supporting sports programs at Cal State Northridge.

Mel Marmer, writing for Society for American Baseball Research, appreciates McAnany's baseball talent.

After playing in the minor league recalled Jim McAnany, who was batting .315 at Indianapolis, in hope of providing an offensive spark. Writes Marmer..

"Mac" did an outstanding job – within three weeks, he was batting .382, with 14 RBI in 15 games. Jim was a complete player: in addition to his timely hitting, he ran well, and racked up six outfield assists.

In his book, '59 Summer of the Sox, author Bob Vanderberg quotes New York Yankees manager Casey Stengel addressing the White Sox beat reporters about McAnany after a game: "They've been a real ballclub since that McSweeney come up.

" First time I see him, he throws one of my men out at the plate in Chicago. He makes catches, he runs, he hits good. You ain't had a bit of trouble in right field since he got there. Before that, you had nothing else but trouble."

Jim McAnany's baseball career ended prematurely because of nagging injuries. Jim had few regrets, however; he considered himself fortunate to do what he loved best: play Major League Baseball, and to have earned a World Series ring in the process. "Mac" has enjoyed a "good life" after baseball.

James McAnany was born September 4 1936, in Los Angeles and grew up in the city's Westside district. His father, Clifford, was a sales manager for Picksweet/ Swanson Frozen Foods and his mother, Stella, nee Pociask, a housewife. There were four children – two boys and two girls.

He and his brother first played baseball in nearby Rancho Park. At Loyola High School Jim played the outfield and the team became the California Interscholastic Federation champion

He was also a halfback on the football team. As he grew up Jim followed the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League on the radio. The first professional baseball game he saw was between the Angels and the Hollywood Stars.

Jim attended USC for two years, playing the outfield before leaving during his sophomore year. He was signed by White Sox scouts Hollis Thurston and Doc Bennett, the same pair who signed Johnny Callison a year later.

McAnany was called up to Chicago at the end of the 1958 season and made his major-league debut in Kansas City's Municipal Stadium on September 19, appearing as a pinch hitter for Early Wynn. He struck out swinging against Ralph Terry.

He started three games in right field in 1958. He finished the year with a batting average of .000, having made outs in each of his 13 at-bats. Five of the outs were strikeouts. It was a disappointing finish to the year.

McAnany began 1959 in Indianapolis and found a lot more success when the White Sox called him up late in June. He recalled, "I was on a plane to Denver. They notified me to say I was going to Chicago. I got to Chicago and took a cab to Comiskey Park. I got there in the third inning of a Yankee game. The next day, I was in the starting lineup!"

That day, Sunday, June 28, Lopez sat left-handed batter Harry Simpson, who had gotten two hits off right-hander Bob Turley the day before, and started McAnany in right field against lefty Whitey Ford. McAnany responded with the first Sox hit of the game, a single. He hit safely in his first four starts, all of them games in which the opposing team started left-handers.

McAnany's hot streak continued well into July. One example: he had only three triples in his career, but two of them came on the same day, July 12, 1959, one in each game of a doubleheader against Kansas City. Both triples came with the bases loaded. Six of his 27 career RBIs came on that one day.

On July 17, McAnany "returned the favor" to Ralph Terry, who had struck him out in his first major-league at-bat in '58, by breaking up Terry's no-hit bid in the ninth inning with a line single into center field. The White Sox went on to defeat the Yankees, 2-0, before their largest road crowd of the season, 42,168. It was an important win, putting Chicago ahead of Cleveland by a game and 6½ up on the Yankees.

McAnany wound up starting a team-high 58 games in right field for the White Sox in 1959. He also started two games in left field, and played three innings in center field. He accumulated 210 at-bats with a .276 batting average, driving in 27 runs and doing his part to help Chicago reach the World Series.

After the 1959 fall classic, in which McAnany walked once and made five outs in six plate appearances for another .000 batting average, he entered the Army Reserve and completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. In February, while stationed there, he was able to get leave long enough to come home for a weekend and marry his sweetheart, Rosemary.

Back at Fort Leonard Wood, working in the snow and 10-degree temperatures, he injured his shoulder. As spring approached, Jim tried to work out to prepare for spring training. The shoulder problem recurred and began to nag him. It eventually led to his retirement from baseball.

McAnany recalled: "I was released from duty late and was late getting to spring training in 1960. It was a big disappointment coming off a World Series 'high.' Then, in 1961, I was recalled to active duty because of the Berlin Crisis and spent most of the year at Fort Lewis, Washington.

"It was a big disruption to my baseball career. But I have no regrets; I felt that it was my duty to serve my country. I just wish that it had not played such a large part in ending my baseball career prematurely."

On his hitting: "I had difficulty hitting fastballs and curves, especially those thrown by Sandy Koufax. Fortunately, no pitcher seemed to have had my number; I didn't strike out that much (38 whiffs in 241 big-league at-bats). I'm glad Early Wynn was on our side; I'd have hated to hit against him in a game. Ryne Duren was a tough pitcher – we thought that he was mean-spirited. In retrospect, he was probably using his control problems – lack of it – to intimidate us.

Jim and Rosemary'son, Jim (James Emmot), played in the College World Series for Loyola Marymount University and was drafted by the Angels. He played 271 minor-league games before joining his father full time in the insurance business.

Daughter Michele, a teacher, played baseball for Phil Niekro's Colorado Silver Bullets. Jim and Rosemary live near their children and five grandchildren.

Jay Ritchie Sr.

Published in Salisbury Post from Jan. 6 to Jan. 7, 2016

Jay Seay Ritchie Sr., 80, of Rockwell, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center in Salisbury. He was born on Nov. 20, 1935, to the late Gilbert and Ila Brown Ritchie in Rowan County. He was a 1955 graduate of Granite Quarry High School.

Jay played professional baseball and in later years worked as a car salesman for Ben Mynatt Nissan. He was a member of Shiloh Reformed Church; the Major League Baseball Players Association; a faithful member of the Saleeby Fisher YMCA Coffee Crew; and Rowan County Sports Hall of Fame.

Jay was a relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds and the Atlanta Braves. He played winter baseball in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela and remained an avid baseball fan throughout his life. Jay was an avid Duke fan and enjoyed watching sports. He enjoyed traveling with his wife Shelby.

Jay is survived by his wife of more than 59 years, Shelby Jean Burwell Ritchie, who he married Dec. 22, 1956; two daughters, Cindi Stevens and husband Bobby of Salisbury, Luann Fesperman and husband Gary of Salisbury; son Jay Seay Ritchie Jr. of Rockwell; two sisters, Mary Sherrill and Lottie Simpson; brother Herman Ritchie; four granddaughters, Brittin S. Cox and husband Dustin of Asheville, Adrian S. Staton and husband Matt of Rockwell, Mikel Ann F. Mason and husband Chris of Weddington and Whitley Stevens and fiance Ryne Jordan of Salisbury; two grandsons, Ritchie Fesperman and girlfriend Elinor Hurt of Durham and Jase Ritchie of Salisbury; two great-granddaughters, Kenzie and Camryn; and three great-grandsons, Eli, Levi and Smith.

In addition to his parents, Jay was preceded in death by brothers George Ritchie, Hoke Ritchie and Ray Ritchie. Visitation: Visitation is Friday, Jan. 8 from 1-3 p.m. at the Shiloh Reformed Church Fireplace Lobby. Service: Funeral services will be held Friday, Jan. 8 at 3 p.m. at Shiloh Reformed Church of Faith, with Rev. Richard Myers officiating. Burial will follow in the Shiloh Reformed Church Cemetery.

Memorials: In lieu of flowers, memorials in memory of Jay may be made to Shiloh Reformed Church, P.O. Box 308, Faith, NC 28041.

Powles-Staton Funeral Home of Rockwell, honored provider of Veterans Funeral Care, is assisting the family of Jay Ritchie.

Former Cardinals manager Vern Rapp dies

By Ben Frederickson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 01, 2016 1:00 am

New St. Louis Cardinals Manager Vern Rapp, left and Cardinals president August A. Busch Jr., talk to reporters at Rapp’s first meeting with the media in St. Louis, Missouri on Oct. 12, 1976. Rapp announced that veteran outfielder Lou Brock will be a player coach next season, working on outfielding and base running. (AP Photo)
Enlarge Photo

Vern Rapp, the former Cardinals manager whose disciplinary ways led to a clean-shaven Al Hrabosky, died of natural causes Thursday in Broomfield, Colo. He was 87.

Rapp, who was born in St. Louis in May 1928 and attended Cleveland High School, signed his first playing contract with the Cardinals in 1945. His $100-per-month deal never turned into playing time for the Redbirds but did start a winding path that led to him managing the club.

A catcher who paused his career to serve in the Korean War in 1951 and 1952, Rapp didn’t make it beyond the Class AAA level as a player. But the two decades of playing and managing in the minors led to a major-league return to his hometown. The Cardinals hired him as Red Schoendienst’s replacement before the 1977 season.

Rapp, then 49, steered the team to an 83-79 record and a third-place finish that marked an 11-game improvement from 1976. But the hard-nosed managerial tactics he found success with in the minors didn’t always mesh with his players in the majors.

“With Vern, it was such a big transition,” former Cardinals pitcher Bob Forsch once told the Post-Dispatch. Forsch died in 2011. “From laid-back Red to Vern. Vern was more military, where he’d say, ‘I’ll even tell you how to dress.’ He stood (coach) Sonny Ruberto on a trunk in spring training and said, ‘This is how to wear your uniforms.’”

Long hair wasn’t an option. Faces had to be shaved. Jackets and ties on the road. No blue jeans.

Tension entered the clubhouse. An argument with star catcher Ted Simmons went public, among other incidents. Rapp was fired after the Cardinals went 6-11 to begin the 1978 season.

The strict baseball man had a softer side, though. He is survived by his wife, Audrey, four daughters, a brother, 15 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

“He was a very devoted husband and father,” said Beth Ackerson, a daughter. “Family, that was his No. 1 game. We would go to spring training, and we would all travel to wherever he was in the summer. We would make a home there. That was really important to him.”

Rapp’s second stint as a major-league manager came with Cincinnati in 1984. The Reds started 51-70 before he was replaced by player-manager Pete Rose. Rapp then retired to Colorado, where he found a new hobby — fly-fishing.

Rapp’s most memorable moment, at least in the eyes of Cardinal Nation, came when he clashed with Hrabosky, nicknamed the “The Mad Hungarian”, over the relief pitcher’s beloved Fu Manchu. Hrabosky parted with the mustache, but later said he felt like a soldier without his rifle. Time has since healed the shaving wounds.

“He’s part of the baseball family,” said Hrabosky, now a commentator for Fox Sports Midwest. “How rare to be a manager at the major-league level and he was a successful coach, a teacher and everything else. He just had a way about himself that kind of rubbed some people wrong. Our personalities, they clashed. But I had no ill will against the man, and there have been many times I’ve thought about him, and wondered how he was doing.”

Frank Malzone, Star Fielder for Boston Red Sox, Dies at 85

By Bruce Weberdec
The New York Times
December 30 2015

Frank Malzone, a six-time All-Star third baseman whose steady presence in the Boston lineup tied together two of the city’s baseball eras, linking Ted Williams’s Red Sox with Carl Yastrzemski’s, died on Tuesday at his home in Needham, Mass. He was 85.

The Red Sox announced his death.

Malzone played with the Red Sox from 1955 to 1965, not a period of distinction for the franchise — the team never finished higher than third — even though it was led by two future Hall of Fame outfielders: Williams, who retired in 1960, not having played in a World Series since 1946, and Yastrzemski, who arrived in 1961 and finally led the team to a pennant in 1967. As one Boston hero passed the torch to the other, Malzone was a stalwart supporting player for both.

He was remarkably durable, playing in more than 150 games in seven consecutive seasons, including 475 games in a row. In the 1959 season, he played 42 more games at third than anyone else in the American League, handling so many more chances that he led the league in both errors and fielding percentage.

As a hitter, Malzone swung a solid if not spectacular right-handed bat. His career average was .274, but he batted .280 or better in five of his first seven full seasons, 1957 to 1963, and knocked in more than 90 runs three times, including 103 in 1957.

He made the All-Star team in each of his first four full seasons. In the second of two All-Star Games in 1959 (from 1959 to 1962 there were two All-Star Games annually), he hit a home run off the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Don Drysdale, a future Hall of Famer, and in his last All-Star appearance, in 1963, he batted cleanup for the American League.

Early in his career, Malzone was perhaps the best defensive third baseman in baseball. He won a Gold Glove in 1957, when that annual award made its debut and was given to just one player at each position in the big leagues. From the next year on, a Gold Glove has been given to the best fielder at each position in each league; Malzone won the American League award in 1958 and 1959, and if Brooks Robinson — who won the next 16 in a row while playing for the Baltimore Orioles — had not come along, he might have picked up a few more.

“We’re not only happy with Malzone; we’re practically hysterical about him,” Mike Higgins, a former Red Sox third baseman who managed the team from 1955 to 1962 and was known as Pinky, told The Saturday Evening Post in 1957. “I couldn’t carry his glove. Neither could anyone else I can remember. He’s the best third baseman I’ve ever seen.”

No other Red Sox third baseman has won a Gold Glove. No Red Sox third baseman has hit more home runs than the 131 Malzone hit with the team or has had more than his 716 runs batted in.

At the end of his career, Malzone played one season as a reserve for the California Angels.

Frank James Malzone was born in the Bronx on Feb. 28, 1930, and grew up a Yankees fan. His father was an Italian immigrant who worked for the New York City water department.

In a 2009 interview cited on, Malzone recalled that he learned to play baseball by watching an older brother and sister play on a sandlot team.

“She handled herself well,” he said of his sister Mary. “Line-drive-type hitter. No power.”

Malzone played baseball at Samuel Gompers high school and began his professional career not long after his 18th birthday with a Red Sox minor league affiliate in Milford, Del. He lost most of the 1950 season to an ankle injury and was in the Army in 1952 and 1953.

He made his major league debut in September 1955 and had 115 plate appearances for the Sox in 1956 before becoming the starting third baseman the next year. Williams was finishing out his career, and by the time he retired after the 1960 season, Malzone was a team leader.

“When I first came to the big leagues in 1961, Frank was the guy who took me under his wing,” Yastrzemski said in a statement provided by the Red Sox. “I struggled when I first came up, and he took care of me and stayed with me. He was a real class guy, a very caring guy, and I owe him a lot.”

After his retirement as a player, Malzone worked for the Red Sox as a scout and instructor. He married Amy Gennerino, whom he met in 1949 while playing in Oneonta, N.Y, in 1951. She died in 2006. The Red Sox said Malzone was survived by four sons, Frank, Paul, John and Jim; a daughter, Anne O’Neill; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Edwin Mayer

Published in the San Francisco Chronicle on December 31, 2016

While surrounded by his loving family, native San Franciscan Edwin Mayer passed away peacefully.

Ed enjoyed a 23 year teaching career in the Laguna Salada School District in Pacifica. Among Ed's many accomplishments was
his Major League Baseball career with the Chicago Cubs. Ed had the honor to throw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field in June 2014.

Ed is survived by Younga Hennessey, his partner of 21 years, three children Lynne Foster-Phillips, Laura Gardner, David Mayer,
eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, Ms. Hennessey's daughter Ruth Hennessey and her three children.

Ed was predeceased by his wife Carol Carlson and his wife Harriet Adelson.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Doctors Without Borders.

Former Mariners outfielder and broadcaster Dave Henderson passes away at age 57

By Ryan Divish
Seattle Times staff reporter
December 27, 2015 at 10:01 am PST

Those who met him didn’t call him Dave, David or Mr. Henderson. He preferred “Hendu.” That was the name that would elicit the easy, gap-toothed smile.

And now Dave Henderson is gone at the age of 57.

Henderson died at Harborview Hospital early Sunday morning after suffering a massive heart attack. Henderson had been dealing with kidney issues for the past few years and received a kidney transplant a month ago.

The Mariners drafted Henderson with the 26th pick in 1977 draft out of Dos Palos (Calif.) High School, where he was a standout baseball and football player. He was the first draft pick for Seattle’s Major League Baseball expansion franchise.

It was the start of productive professional career. He would go on to play 14 years in the big leagues with the Mariners, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, Oakland A’s and Kansas City Royals, appearing in 1,538 games and hitting .258 with 197 homers and 708 runs batted in. He was named to the 1991 American League All-Star team as a member of the A’s. His best years came in Oakland. From 1988 to 1991, Henderson hit .275 with a .795 on-base plus slugging percentage with 123 doubles, 84 homers and 322 RBI.

“On behalf of the Seattle Mariners, I want to extend our deepest sympathies to Chase and Trent and Nancy and to Dave’s many friends,” Mariners team president Kevin Mather said in a statement. “He was a devoted father to his two sons and always willing to help someone in need.

“Dave was one of the most popular Mariners in our history, but Dave was also one of the most popular player’s in Red Sox and A’s history. He had a special ability to connect with people, both inside the game and in the communities in which he lived. I never saw him at the ballpark, or on the golf course, without a big smile on his face.”

What people remember most about Henderson were his postseason heroics, particularly Game 5 of the 1986 AL Championship Series. Henderson and the Red Sox were facing elimination against the California Angels, down three games to one in Anaheim. In the ninth inning, with Boston down a run and two outs, Henderson hit a two-run homer off of Angels closer Donnie Moore on a 2-2 count. The Angels came back and tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, but Henderson drove home the winning run in the top of the 11th for a 7-6 win. The Red Sox would go on to win the next two games and the series.

Henderson played in a total of 36 postseason games in his career, hitting .298 with a .946 on base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS), 10 doubles, a triple, seven homers and 20 RBI. He won a World Series with the A’s in 1989.

Blessed with a smooth voice and an easy smile, Henderson was never afraid of the television cameras or a reporter’s notebook. He loved to talk about baseball, his exploits and anything that he found entertaining. That carried over into his post-baseball career where he served as color analyst on the Mariners’ broadcasts from 1997 to 2006 alongside Dave Niehaus.

Henderson was very visible in the Puget Sound as an ambassador for baseball, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support research into Angelman Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects his son, Chase. He was also one of the founders of Rick’s Toys For Kids, a charity which provides dozens of agencies and thousands of children who otherwise would not receive a gift Christmas presents each year with broadcaster Rick Rizzs.

Henderson is survived by his sons, Chase and Trent; his wife, Nancy’ and first wife, Loni.

Jim O'Toole, Reds Hall of Famer, passes away at 78

Dave Clark
December 27, 2015 1:17 a.m. EST

Jim O'Toole, a Reds Hall of Fame pitcher and fan favorite who helped the Reds to an appearance in the 1961 World Series, passed away at 78, according to the team.

Fellow Reds Hall of Famer Johnny Bench offered the following response: "I know people have admired a lot of former Reds. Joe Nuxhall is at the top of the list, but Jim O'Toole was to me the epitome of class any player has ever had! He always wore a smile and was represented by his family in the highest of esteem. He loved his Reds and the time he spent in the organization. He came to all the functions and brightened the room. For those that knew him, no words are needed. For those that didn't, no words are adequate. RIP. MY LOVE TO THE FAMILY"

O'Toole spent eight of his nine big-league seasons with the Reds after debuting with the team at age 21 in 1958. He went 19-9 with a 3.10 ERA in 1961 - when the Reds advanced to the World Series and lost to the Yankees - and finished 10th in National League MVP voting.

He was 94-81 with a 3.59 ERA in 255 games for Cincinnati.

O'Toole was an All-Star in 1963. In fact, he started the 1963 All-Star Game for the National League, on a roster that featured Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn. He allowed one earned run in two innings of work.

He finished 1964 with a career-best 2.66 ERA (with a 17-7 record) in 30 starts.

He was traded to the White Sox in 1967, and appeared in 15 games for Chicago before retiring.

He appeared often and signed autographs with Reds alumni at Redsfest and many other events for the team and Reds Hall of Fame.

George Burpo

Published in the Arizona Daily Star on December 24, 2015

George Burpo passed peacefully into Gods hands on December 20, 2015. Husband of his beloved deceased wife, Nancy, for 56 years; father of son, Rob of Albuquerque, New Mexico; granddaughter of Jennifer and grandson, Greg also of Albuquerque.

George was born June 19, 1922 in Jenkins, Kentucky. He attended grade school in Pikeville, KY and high school in Jenkins where he played on the football team and was also in the school band.

George began a career of professional baseball while still in high school by signing his first contract with the Cincinnati Reds organization in 1939. He was sent to Muskogee, Oklahoma that year. Other teams he played for were the Tucson Cowboys, where he pitched the first no hit game at High Corbett field in 1941, the Columbia, So. Carolina Reds, the Birmingham, Alabama Barons, the Syracuse Chiefs in addition to half a season with the parent Cincinnati Redleg club in 1946.

His baseball career was interrupted by serving three years in the United States Navy in the second World War and received an honorable discharge in December, 1945. He recently was honored with the World War 11 Medallion.

After retiring from baseball because of injuries, he spent five years with the J.C. Penny company before finishing a 32 year career with the world's largest manufacturer of business forms (MOORE), beginning in sales, supervision, and as District Manager in Tucson, Phoenix, Albuquerque and Tucson when he retired in 1985.

George and wife, Nancy, served as Junior High advisors at Valley Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale, where George also served as an elder in that church. While in Albuquerque, was active in church work at Immanuel Presbyterian Church including three years as an elder; George and Nancy joined the Desert Skies United Methodist Church in 1998.

George has been a member of Rotary clubs in Phoenix, Albuquerque and Tucson, serving as club president in the Catalina (Tucson) Rotary club in 1982-83. He loved all sports, especially baseball, football and basketball at the University of Arizona where he was a member of the Wildcat Club for many years.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Desert Skies United Methodist Church or the Catalina (Tucson) Rotary Foundation through Kathy Ramert, Club Treasurer at 7314 N. Casablanca Drive, Tucson, Arizona 85704.

Burial Services will be private.

Memorial Service will be conducted by Rev. Ed Denham at Desert Skies United Methodist Church at 3255 North Houghton Road on.

Arrangements by East Lawn Palms Mortuary, 5801 East Grant Road.

Hector Harold "Skinny" Brown
December 19th, 2015

Greensboro: Mr. Hector Harold "Skinny" Brown, 91, died Thursday, December 17, 2015 at Moses Cone memorial Hospital. A Memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, December 20, 2015 at Forbis and Dick, N. Elm Street Chapel, with Rev. Jim Epps officiating. Interment will be private.

Mr. Brown was born on December 11, 1924 in Greensboro, son of the late William Hamilton and Pearlie Chasen Brown. A Greensboro Senor High School graduate, he attended UNC-Chapel Hill before enlisting in the war. "Skinny" played in the major leagues for 14 years and was known for his knuckleball and control. He was inducted in to the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

He was an active member of Presbyterian Church of Covenant for many years and a 32nd degree Mason. An avid golfer, he was a member of Starmount Country Club and part owner of McBane-Brown Heating and Air Conditioning. He was a U.S. Army Air Corps veteran of World War II. He was well-loved and respected by all who knew him, but most of all, he was proud of his family.

Survivors include his wife, Maxine Joyce Brown; two daughters, Suzanne White and husband Chuck and Lisa Moore and husband Bill all of Greensboro; four grandchildren, Ryan White, Blair White, Emily Tyler and Carrie Guthrie; two great-grandchildren, Ethan White and Olivia Ryan White.In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by four brothers and three sisters. The family will receive friends following the service at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Greensboro Urban Ministries, 305 W. Gate City Blvd, Greensboro, NC 27406.

Evelio Hernandez, 84, Cuban pitcher for the Washington Senators
December 19, 2015 5:58 PM MST

Evelio Hernandez, a Cuban-born pitcher for the Washington Senators in the 1950s, passed away Friday December 18, 2015 at his home in Miami, Florida, just days shy of his 85th birthday. The reporting of his death was confirmed by former Almendares teammate Cholly Naranjo.

Born December 24, 1930 in Guanabacoa, Cuba, the right-handed pitcher was signed into the Washington Senators organization in 1954 by the legendary scout Joe Cambria. It was during that winter that Hernandez had his first taste of winter ball, pitching two games for Almendares en route to a Cuban League Championship.

Hernandez used the lesson he learned from the veterans during the 1954-55 winter ball season to amass 23 victories in 1955 for Washington’s Class C team in Hobbs, New Mexico. This earned him a promotion to Class A Charlotte in 1956. His domination on the mound continued, and after going 18-4, the Senators called him up in September. He pitched four games, earning his first major league win with a complete game 7-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on September 29, 1956.

He returned to the Senators in 1957 in a more prominent role as he made the club out of spring training. He pitched in 14 games without a decision before being sent to the minors in June. While he would pitch professionally until 1967, he never returned to the major leagues. He finished his career in Washington with a 1-1 record and a 4.45 ERA in 18 games.

Hernandez found success in the Mexican League, pitching for Monterrey from 1959-1967. On August 10, 1966, he threw what was at the time only the 11th no-hitter in the league’s history, blanking Puebla 2-0. It was a banner season for Hernandez, who pitched in 40 games that season, starting 31 and completing 15.

After his baseball career was over, Hernandez passed on his tremendous knowledge and experience to the youth of Miami, serving as a high school baseball coach for over 20 years. As the head coach at Loyola Miami, he led the baseball team to five Class A state championships during his tenure.

Longtime Daily News sports writer Phil Pepe dead at 80

By Mark Feinsand, Bill Price
The New York Daily News
Monday, December 14, 2015, 1:05 AM

Phil Pepe, a longtime Daily News Yankee beat writer whose career covering New York sports spanned 50 years, died Sunday at the age of 80 at his home in Englewood, N.J., a family member told The News.

Pepe covered the Yankees for The News from 1968-1981 and wrote the lead game story for every World Series from 1969-81. In 1982, he succeeded Dick Young as The News’ sports columnist.

He left the paper in 1989 for WCBS radio, where he did morning sports — including his signature “Pep Talk” — for more than 15 years. He was also the director of broadcasting/radio analyst for the Class-A New Jersey Cardinals of the New York-Penn League for 12 seasons from 1994-2005.

He was the executive director of the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America for the past 21 years, having also served as the chapter’s chairman in 1975 and 1976. He attended every BBWAA awards dinner since 1962 and ran the event for more than two decades.

“He was a mentor to a lot of writers of my generation, he was a guy you could always go to,” said Jack O’Connell, the secretary treasurer of the BBWAA and a former News writer. “I worked with him at The News and he was somebody a lot of us looked up to.”

After graduating from St. John’s, Pepe joined the New York World Telegram and Sun in 1957 and became the paper’s Yankee beat writer in 1961, the same year Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record.

“There was a time, in another time in New York, when whatever had happened the day before or the night before with the Yankees didn’t become official until you picked up the Daily News and read Phil Pepe,” said columnist Mike Lupica. “Phil was more than just the Yankees across his long career at The News, and at the World Telegram & Sun before that, and with all the books he wrote about baseball. But in memory, he’s at the old Yankee Stadium still, sitting with Yogi, telling stories about Mantle and Maris, getting ready to write a game story about the Yankees of George and Billy and Reggie.”

Pepe stayed at the Telegram until it folded in 1966, and then wrote scripts for ABC radio with Howard Cosell.

He joined the Daily News in 1968 and, according to a book by baseball historian Marty Appel, Pepe wrote the lead story on every World Series game from 1969-1981, covered most of Muhammad Ali’s championship fights, was the beat writer for the Knicks during their championship years and covered the first Super Bowl and three Olympics.

In addition to his career in newspapers and radio, Pepe was a prolific author, writing close to 50 books with some of sports’ biggest names. He co-wrote Bob Gibson’s autobiography, and wrote books with Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Ken Griffey Sr., Jim Kaat, Gary Carter, Bud Harrelson, Howie Rose and Tim McCarver. His last book was in 2013 on the Yankees’ Core Four.

“He’s the best game story writer I ever worked with,” said Bob Decker, assistant sports editor at The News from 1974-1989. “Nobody could do it better than Pepe. He wouldn’t need any quotes and still turn out a great baseball story.”

Decker recalled the day Thurman Munson died and Pepe, a friend of Munson’s, had to come into the office to do a column for The News.

“He comes in, Munson and him were very good friends. He comes in all upset, sits there with his head in his hands,” said Decker. “I told him ‘write what you feel.’ He wrote a magnificent column.”

“He was a mentor to me and a giant among baseball writers who never got his true credit,” said Hall of Fame baseball writer Bill Madden, who succeeded Pepe as The News’ Yankee beat writer. “He is going to be sorely missed by the New York chapter of baseball writers.”

Pepe is survived by daughter Jayne and her husband Steve Platts; sons David, Jim and John; daughters-in-law Maria and Sherry Pepe; and five grandchildren.

Gus Gil
December 10, 2015

Tomas Gustavo Gil Guillen was born in Caracas, Venezuela April 19, 1939. Gus was a Second Baseman for the Major League Baseball. Where he played for the Cleveland Indians, Seattle Pilots and Milwaukee Brewers. In four seasons from 1967 to 1971.

In 1970 Gus help win the Caribbean Series. He hit .387 scored 4 runs and a series leading 7 RBI to help the Magallanes win the series. Which earn him a spot on the Series All Star Team.

After his playing Career he served as Manager for the Venezuelan Winter League in 1979. Gus also managed the Danville Suns in 1982. The Bluefield Orioles in 1990 and 1991.

In 1995 Gus was ask By La Raza making him 1 out of 5 invitees. He spoke on behalf of all the Hispanic in the USA on representing sports Accomplishment.

Gus was inducted into the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008 located in Valencia,Venezuela.

He was a loving Husband,Father, Brother, Brother in Law and Uncle. A Great Mentor to Many.

He is survived by his Loving Wife Phyllis Gil of 47 years. Also Leaving behind his Son Tomas Gustavo Gil Jr. And Daughter in Law Carrie Gil.

Robert "Bob" Dustal
September 28, 1935 - November 30, 2015
December 3, 2015

Robert (Bob) Dustal’s obituary:
Born 9-28-35 in Sayreville NJ, graduated from South River High School in 1955.

Played, coached, and managed in the Detroit Tigers organization from 1955-1970, pitching in the major leagues in 1963. After his baseball career he owned this own plumbing, irrigation, and lawn maintenance company. Wanting to try something new he bought and operated a restaurant in the Florida Keys after several years he returned to Lakeland and worked for the city for 15 years, retiring in 2007.

Bob loved fishing, bowling, restoring Cadillac El Dorados, going on cruises, but what he loved best was making people laugh with his corny jokes. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Anne and Mike, his brother Alan, and grandson Blake. Survived by Pat, his wife of 58 years, sons Bobby (Jackie), Rick (Lisa), Kevin, brothers, Andrew and Michael 10 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren.

There will be a Viewing on Thursday December 3, 2015 from 2-3 PM with a Funeral Service to follow at 3 PM at Central Florida Casket Store & Funeral Chapel, 2090 E Edgewood Drive.

Exlanzador dies Ramon "Pintacora" Los Santos
November 29, 2015 24:50 pm

Ramon "Pintacora" de los Santos died at age 66.

Santo Domingo.- died early on Sunday, the 66-year-old left-hander Ramon exlanzador "Pintacora" of the Saints.

De los Santos was recovering after suffering a brain vascular accident with massive hemorrhage on Friday November 7 in his sleep at home.

Internal It was from that day in the National Polyclinic Center in Guayubín Olivo street of Santo Domingo.

The lefty capitaleño participated in the Dominican Winter League with Escogido, Estrellas Orientales and Licey equipment.

The Licey notes that De los Santos began the practice of baseball at age 9, and then the boy had a successful career as a pitcher, which was the activity he preferred. In the beginning he joined the team, "Sepulveda Hardware" and then joined the ninth "Warehouses Charity."

Now, as a top-level player, he played with "Navy", where he worked hard, doing a good job. For that time the military players you are not taking into account, but Ramón continued his career to settle in professional baseball.

In March 1970, the Dominican Republic national baseball team traveled to Panama to compete in the XI Central American and Caribbean Games and the 4th of that month, Dominicans gave the big surprise in the tournament ball, beating the Cuba ninth with a score of 7 x 4.

The left-hander Ramon de los Santos, who dominated with great control to the strong Cuban battery, victory, striking out eight batters and giving scored only one walk.

"Pintacora" the glory of defeating the team of Cuba, which was then the world champion was. After that great performance against the blunderbuss of Cuba, the president of that nation, Fidel Castro, was interested in the young Dominican pitcher and congratulated him.

Pintacora Dominican won 4 games and won silver medal.

From the 1970 Central American Games, to Pintacora she will be respected, including Fidel Castro, who saw a prodigious Creole lefty, which frightened the battery Greater Antilles.

He was also a member of the Navy team Guerra.En the Central American and Caribbean Panama City Games in 1970.
He was then signed by the Houston Astros in 1972 and two years later played for that team as a pitcher.

De los Santos was called to Houston in August 1974 after a dominating hitters in the Double-A Southern League season.

He pitched in 42 games for the Columbus Astros, struck out 73 batters in 76 entries and only allowed 11 earned runs. He went 7-4 with an 1.30 ERA.

The August 21, 1974, the Saints made his major league debut in relief against the New York Mets in the Astrodome.

Retired the first batter he faced, right fielder Rusty Staub, then struck out to first baseman John Milner to complete 6. Input In 2.2 innings that night, allowed two hits, three walks and two unearned runs, and the Astros lost 10 -2.

De los Santos won his first and only major league game a week later at Shea Stadium.

Retired the Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson, the last batter in the bottom of the ninth, and then his teammate Cliff Johnson homered in the top of the tenth inning to win the game 3-2.

In 12 games I was 1-1 and finished five games. In 12.1 innings he gave up three earned runs for a 2.19 ERA.

His best moments of his long career as a pitcher lived in the Dominican Republic baseball where he participated in 18 seasons with the Leones del Escogido, Estrellas Orientales and Tigres del Licey.

Brand had 28 wins and 19 defeats saved 35 games with a 3.38 ERA, numbers that made him one of the most dominant pitchers in the eighties in the local championship.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame Sports Dominicano in 2001.

Willie Royster

The Radzieta Funeral Home
November 25, 2015

ROYSTER, WILLIE A., 61, of Ocean View, NJ, passed away at home on Monday, November 23, 2015. Born in Clarksville, VA to Arthur Lee and Hilda G. Boxley Royster, he moved to Cape May County 27 years ago from Washington, D.C. He was an Elder of Calvary Baptist Church, where he also served as a teacher for the Adult Sunday School. He worked as the Director of Facilities for the Salem County Board of Education.

Willie was a catcher for the Baltimore Orioles organization. He was a member of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni and served as a Board Member. He liked to golf and especially ride his Harley.

Willie is survived by his wife of 26 years, Kimberly K. Royster; his children, Kimberly Sims, Rachael Royster, and Isaac Royster; his grandchildren, Darren Smith and Kimmya Sims; his mother, Hilda Lampkins; and his sisters, Andre White, Lynn Miller, and Ruth Hackney.

Memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at the Calvary Baptist Church, 2373 Route 9, Ocean View. Interment will be in Calvary Baptist Cemetery.

Ken Johnson, Only Loser of 9-Inning No-Hitter, Dies at 82

By Bruce Weber
The New York Times
November. 23, 2015

Baseball, that statistics-mad enterprise, has served up its share of rare performances by individual players. Fifteen fielders have turned unassisted triple plays. Thirteen hitters have hit two grand slams in a game, including one, Fernando Tatis, who in April 1999 did so in the same inning, which may be the game’s most remarkable anomaly, though Don Larsen’s perfect game for the Yankees against the Dodgers in 1956 — the only no-hitter thrown in the World Series — is better known and better remembered.

No-hitters themselves are not all that uncommon. Almost 300 of them have been pitched in the big leagues, and even their famous subset, perfect games, has 23 entries.

Five times in the major leagues’ modern era, a team has given up no hits and failed to win. But in perhaps the game’s starkest good-news-bad-news case, only once did a single pitcher complete a nine-inning game without yielding a hit and still manage to lose it. The man who owns that two-faced distinction, Ken Johnson, whose otherwise middling 13-year career in the major leagues included stints with seven teams, died on Saturday in Pineville, La. He was 82.

His son Kenneth Jr. said that his father had been bedridden with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and that he died after contracting a kidney infection.

For three seasons in the heart of his career, 1965-67, pitching for the Houston Astros and the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves (the franchise moved after the 1965 season), Johnson was an effective starter, going 43-27 with 26 complete games. It was earlier, however, on April 23, 1964, that while pitching for Houston (then known as the Colt .45s) against the Cincinnati Reds, he claimed his spot in history.

A right-hander who featured a knuckleball to go along with a fastball and breaking pitches — “He always said it was the knuckler that got him to the big leagues,” his son said — Johnson pitched a brilliant game, walking just two, striking out nine and mowing down a lineup that included two All-Stars, catcher Johnny Edwards and shortstop Leo Cardenas; a future Hall of Famer, Frank Robinson; and the eventual career hits leader, Pete Rose.

The Reds hit only three balls out of the infield. In the top of the ninth inning, however, Johnson helped author his own undoing; with one out, he fielded a bunt by Rose and threw wildly to first, allowing Rose to reach second. Rose scored two batters later on an error by second baseman Nellie Fox.

Joe Nuxhall, who allowed five hits for Cincinnati, completed his shutout. Nuxhall was himself the answer to a baseball trivia question. In June 1944, more than a month before turning 16, he pitched two-thirds of an inning for the Reds against the Cardinals, becoming the youngest player ever to appear in a major league game.

Kenneth Travis Johnson Sr. was born in West Palm Beach, Fla., on June 16, 1933. His father, Ernest, was a bank teller; his mother, the former Marjorie Lois Travis, was a waitress.

Young Ken played baseball in high school, joined the Army and later spent a year at the University of South Carolina. There he met Joanna Lynn Ergle, known as Lynn, whom he married in 1955.

She survives him. In addition to their son Kenneth Jr., a medical doctor, he is survived by a second son, Russell; a daughter, Janet Lynne Johnson; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Johnson was signed by the Philadelphia Athletics before the 1952 season and played in their minor league system, advancing to the majors (by then the team had moved to Kansas City) in 1958.

In addition to Houston and the Braves, Johnson pitched for Cincinnati, for whom he pitched two-thirds of an inning in the 1961 World Series; the Yankees; the Cubs; and the Montreal Expos. Over all, he pitched in 334 regular-season games with a record of 91-106 and an earned run average of 3.46.

After his retirement, he worked as a community service coordinator at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida and later as a baseball coach at Louisiana College in Pineville.

Johnson’s no-hitter deserves mention with other fateful performances that at one point led the New York Times columnist Arthur Daley to refer to the pitcher’s mound as “Heartbreak Hill.” In Chicago in 1917, Hippo Vaughn of the Cubs and Fred Toney of the Reds, pitching against each other, combined for a nine-inning double no-hitter before Vaughn gave up two hits in the 10th and the Reds won. In 1959, in perhaps the greatest game ever pitched, Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates threw 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves before losing the game in the 13th.

“I pitched the best game of my life and still lost,” Johnson said after he pitched the best game of his life. “A hell of a way to get into the record books.”
Correction: November 25, 2015

An obituary on Tuesday about Ken Johnson, the only player in major league history to pitch a nine-inning no-hitter and lose, erroneously attributed a distinction in some editions to Pete Rose, who scored the winning run for the Cincinnati Reds in the game against Johnson. He is not in the Hall of Fame.

Carmelo Castillo, former baseball player dies at age 57
Monday, November 16, 2015 19:09pm

The Dominican expelotero MLB Carmelo Castillo died last night due to problems related to the heart.

According to several reports, Castillo, who played in the majors for 10 years, seven with the Cleveland Indians and three Twins, died while being taken to the Abel González clinic in this city. He was 57 years.

In the Dominican baseball, he debuted in the 1979-80 season with the Lions of the Chosen participating in a meeting with the team and played continuously for seven straight seasons.

He went to the Licey Tigers for a season. His last campaign in Creole ball 1989-90 militated with the Cibao Eagles.

He was born on June 8, 1958 in San Francisco de Macoris. Signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1979, Castillo major league debut on July 17, 1982 with the Indians and their last game was May 9, 1991 with the Twins, also serving as a pinch hitter.

He finished with .252, 383 hits, 197 RBIs, 190 runs scored, 71 doubles, 8 triples, 55 homers, 291 strikeouts, 90 walks, 15 stolen bases, put out stealing 11 times, 1519 times in 631 at-bats games played.

Friends regret what happened

"He was a good friend and a good person, he just went a man of baseball," said expelotero and avowed friend, Bernardo Tatis.

Social media echo of the death of former player were also made.

He recalled that had been friends since the beginning of both baseball and even practiced together on the stage of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo. "We were a small group, Moises Alou, Jose Rijo, Junior Noboa, Cuqui Acevedo," Tatis said.

Several years ago, Castillo had surgery of the liver.

His athleticism could not deploy says his former teammate team in the majors, Junior Noboa. "Carmelo was my first roommate in baseball when I was up to me with the Cleveland team," he recalls. "He was a player with exceptional physical condition with the five tools" but "unfortunately the injuries did not allow him to be an everyday player."

MLB, Castillo played 10 seasons, seven of them with the Cleveland Indians and the remaining three with the Minnesota Twins. Years after his retirement, he was the hitting coach Tigres del Licey.

Staten Island Sports Hall of Famer and legendary baseball scout George Genovese dead at 93

By Cormac Gordon
The Staten Island Advance
November 16, 2015 at 4:14 PM

Legendary baseball scout George Genovese, who left his family's Clove Road home for the minor leagues in the days before World War II and remained in the game for the next 75 years, scouting and signing the likes of Bobby Bonds, Dave Kingman and George Foster, died Sunday in Burbank, Ca., following a brief illness.

The undersized middle-infielder, whose one official big league at-bat came early in the 1950 season with the woeful Washington Senators, was one of five baseball-playing brothers raised by immigrant parents in depression-era Staten Island.

Once their playing and managing days were over, Genovese and his late brother, Chick, became probably the most successful baseball-scouting brother tandem of all time.

George Genovese, was 93 when he passed away at St. Joseph's Medical Center, Burbank.

In a Staten Island of a different time, Genovese worked on a vegetable truck and racking balls in a North Shore pool hall before signing his first minor league contract fresh out of Port Richmond High School in the spring of 1940.

After borrowing two dollars for travel expenses, he had caught the eye of the St. Louis Cardinals at an open tryout in Connecticut.

The 18-year-old was shipped off to a Cardinals' PONY League affiliate in Canada, a move that marked the beginning of an odyssey that would span parts of eight decades and the administrations of one dozen U.S. Presidents.

Genovese played, coached and managed everywhere from Mexico City and El Paso to Hamilton, Ontario, and Hollywood, Ca.

And, after his one brief stint in the big leagues, was given his first non-playing job in the game by Branch Rickey, at the time the GM of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"A visionary," he called Rickey, the man credited with planning and executing the breaking of baseball's color line when he promoted Jackie Robinson from the minors to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

"I believed in what he was doing," Genovese has said.

In his days as an underpaid minor league player and manager Genovese supplemented his income delivering the mail in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, hauling his leather bag to the mailboxes of stars like Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra.

The Island native's only break from working for a major league franchise came during World War II when he served three years in the Pacific.

And he never tired of the game.

From his home base in Southern California, the Staten Island Sports Hall of Famer worked for the Giants, and later in life, briefly the Dodgers, and was instrumental in discovering overlooked prospects like Chili Davis and Jack Clark.

His brother Chick worked for the Giants organization in the 50s and 60s and was among the leaders of the vanguard of MLB scouts who began mining the Caribbean for baseball talent.

Chick inked some of the first Dominican future stars, Juan Marichal and the Alou brothers, Felipe, Matty and Jesus.

Dan Taylor, who collaborated with George on a recently published memoir, "A Scout's Report: My 70 Years in Baseball" (McFarland Press), says Genovese signed 250 players to their first professional contracts and that 44 of that group played in the major leagues.

His daughter, Kathleen Haworth, along with his brother Jim and granddaughters Rose and Holly Haworth, survive Genovese.

"My father is a perfect example of a young person following his passion all his life, and in so doing inspiring young people who came after him to do the same," Kathleen Haworth said.

Arrangements have yet to be set, but the family says a memorial service will be held some time in the future.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, those who wish to can make a donation to the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, which each year honors a recipient with the "George Genovese Lifetime Achievement Award."

Former Braves, Angels pitcher Hanson dies at 29

Right-hander played for Atlanta from 2009-12 and Los Angeles in 2013

By Mark Bowman / | 11/10/2015 | 12:59 AM ET

ATLANTA -- Many members of the baseball world are understandably reacting to Tommy Hanson's premature death with shock and sadness. The former Major Leaguer, who pitched for the Braves and Angels, was just 29.

A Braves representative confirmed that some of Hanson's former teammates were near Hanson when he passed away at Atlanta's Piedmont Hospital late Monday night. Multiple sources told WSB-TV in Atlanta that Hanson suffered catastrophic organ failure. A source said he had difficulty breathing early Sunday morning and was taken to a hospital.

"Devastated" was the simple and fitting response one of Hanson's closest friends provided as he attempted to deal with the grief early Tuesday morning. This seemed to be a common sentiment among the many who had the pleasure of knowing the big redheaded right-hander, who possessed a bushy beard and a kind heart.

Among those expressing their sorrow was Andrelton Simmons, who tweeted, "Very sad to hear about Tommy Hanson. Wish his family and close friends a lot of strength. He was a really nice dude. :/"

Braves president John Schuerholz said in a statement on Tuesday the team was "incredibly saddened":

"He was a favorite in the clubhouse and with our staff and he will truly be missed by everyone in Braves Country. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, family, former teammates and friends."

Former Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, now with the Padres, tweeted about Hanson on Tuesday: "Tommy Hanson was a great person, it hurts my heart to see him go so soon. My prayers and thoughts are with the Hanson family."

Also taking to Twitter was Oakland's Josh Reddick, who wrote, "Thoughts and prayers to the family of Tommy Hanson. Great guy and competitor. RIP"

Hanson established himself as baseball's top pitching prospect after he dominated as the 2008 MVP of the Arizona Fall League. He made his much-anticipated Major League debut the following June and ended his first month at the big league level by winning four consecutive starts, including two straight against the Yankees and Red Sox at Turner Field.

After producing a 3.28 ERA over the 77 starts made during his first three Major League seasons, Hanson was hampered by a shoulder and back ailment that altered his career. The Braves traded him to the Angels after the 2012 season, and he did not pitch at the Major League level after making 15 appearances for the 2013 Angels.

He spent the past two seasons pitching in the White Sox and Giants organizations. Though he finished this past season with a 5.60 ERA in 11 appearances for Triple-A Sacramento, he went 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings in his last four starts.

"The Giants are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Tommy Hanson," the Giants said in a statement. "Tommy was a great talent with a bright future who was taken from us well before his time. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the many people who were lucky enough to know him. "

Hanson had a 49-35 record, 3.80 ERA and 648 strikeouts in his Major League career.

Frederick Cyril Besana
April 5, 1930 - November 7, 2015

Lambert Funeral Home
November 8, 2015

Frederick Cyril Besana passed away in Roseville on Saturday November 7th at the age of 85. Born in Lincoln, California on April 5th, 1930 to Cedo and Clara Besana, Fred remained a Northern California guy his entire life.

He was preceded in death by his parents and wife of 55 years, Sylvia. He is survived by his son Fred (Shelly), grandson Adam, and brother Keven (Barbara).

Fred was an avid hunter and fisherman from the time of his youth in Lincoln until his early 80's. As a 57 year member of Sierra View Country Club in Roseville, golf played a large and enjoyable part of his life.

Fred graduated from Lincoln High School and attended Placer (Sierra) Junior College. After serving in the US Air Force for 4 years, Fred embarked on a 12 year baseball career caped by playing with the Baltimore Orioles in 1956.

After his baseball career ended, Fred finished his college degree at Sacramento State. He went on to get both his teaching credential and Master's Degree at Sac State as well. He started his teaching and baseball coaching career at Roseville High School before going to Oakmont when that campus open in 1966. He left for American River Junior College in 1968 to teach and coach baseball and remained there until his retirement in 1990.

Services will be held Friday, November 13th at 10am, Lambert's Funeral home at 400 Douglas Blvd in Roseville. Services will be preceded by a viewing at 9am. Burial will be private but a reception will immediately follow the services at Sierra View Country Club.

Norm Siebern, All-Star Who Left Yankees in Trade for Maris, Dies at 82

By Bruce Weber
The New York Times
November 3, 2015

Norm Siebern, a solid outfielder and first baseman who was an American League All-Star three times and played in three World Series, but who may be best known as part of the trade that brought Roger Maris to the Yankees, died on Friday in Naples, Fla. He was 82.

The Yankees confirmed the death without giving a cause.

Siebern, a left-handed hitter with extra-base power — he hit as many as 36 doubles and 25 homers in a season — was seen as a potential star when he arrived in the big leagues with the Yankees in 1956, a promising candidate to fill the team’s hole in left field and play alongside Mickey Mantle in center and Hank Bauer in right.

Siebern had one at-bat in the World Series that year as the Yankees beat the Dodgers, but an injury to his knee and shoulder, sustained when he ran into a wall chasing a fly ball, slowed his progress. He spent all of 1957 in the minor leagues, playing for the Yankees’ Class AAA farm team, the Denver Bears, and was named minor league player of the year by The Sporting News.

Promoted to the Yankees again the next spring, he became the regular left fielder and hit .300. Although he won a Gold Glove, the only one of his career, his fielding in the 1958 World Series against the Milwaukee Braves proved costly.

Left field in October in the old Yankee Stadium could be tough duty: the catcher (and Yankee teammate of Siebern’s) Yogi Berra, who died in September and who played left on occasion, once famously observed about the afternoon shadows that “it gets late early” there. In Game 4 of the Series, with the Yankees down two games to one, Siebern lost a handful of fly balls in the sun or in the lights, which had been turned on to accommodate television. Although he wasn’t charged with an error, his misplays had a role in all three runs of a 3-0 Braves victory.

Manager Casey Stengel benched him for the rest of the Series, which the Yankees came back to win. The next year, Siebern played fewer games, his average slid to .271, and in December 1959 he became a key figure in one of baseball’s most consequential trades.

The Yankees had made such a habit of bolstering their roster by trading for Kansas City’s better players that the Athletics were often referred to as the Yankees’ farm team, and in 1959 the Yankees sent Siebern; the aging Bauer; Don Larsen, who had pitched a perfect game in the 1956 World Series but whose career was on the downslope; and the young first baseman Marv Throneberry (who would later become known for his goofy play with the expansion-era Mets) to Kansas City for Maris, then just 25, and two inconsequential players — first baseman Kent Hadley, who didn’t last the 1960 season, and infielder Joe DeMaestri, whose major league career ended in 1961.

Maris went on to hit 100 home runs over the course of the 1960 and 1961 seasons, including a then-record 61 in 1961, and won the A.L. Most Valuable Player Award both times as the Yankees won the league pennant both years, and the World Series in 1961.

Kansas City remained a dreadful team, never finishing higher than eighth in the A.L. in the four seasons Siebern spent with the team. But Siebern was a fine player for them, averaging close to 20 home runs a season, and in 1962, his best year, he drove in 117 runs and hit .308, with an on-base percentage of .412.

In 1964, he was traded to Baltimore, where Bauer was the manager, and before retiring in 1968 he also played for the California Angels, the San Francisco Giants and the Boston Red Sox, with whom he played in the World Series against the Cardinals in 1967. The Sox lost in seven games. For his career, Siebern hit .272 with 132 home runs.

Norman Leroy Siebern was born in or near St. Louis on July 26, 1933. He was an editor of his high school newspaper and preferred basketball to baseball, but according to a biographical sketch on the website, he was spotted by a Yankees scout when he was just 15, and the team signed him as soon as he finished high school.

For a time he attended Southwest Missouri State College (now Missouri State University) and played basketball there. One of his teammates was Jerry Lumpe, who also went on to play for the Yankees and the Athletics. Siebern played in the minor leagues and spent two years in the Army before joining the Yankees.

Baseball-Reference reported that for a time after his retirement from baseball, Siebern owned an insurance agency in Florida, and that he was married and had three daughters. Information about survivors was not immediately available.

Former Red Eddie Milner dies at 60

By David Jablonski
The Dayton Daily News
Wednesday, November 4, 2015 9:31 a.m.

CINCINNATI — Former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Eddie Milner died Monday at 60, the Reds announced Wednesday.

Milner, a Columbus native who played two years in college at Central State University, played in 804 games for the Reds between 1980 and 1988. He was a 21st-round selection in the 1976 draft. He was a .253 career hitter with 42 home runs, 145 stolen bases and 195 RBIs.

“I’m so sad about the passing of my great friend and teammate,” former Reds pitcher Tom Hume wrote on Twitter. “A true God fearing man. So committed to the game of baseball. I will miss the big smile he always had. No matter if he was happy or sad, (you) never knew.”

Milner hit a career-best .268 in 1982. He hit .261 with 41 stolen bases in 1983. He hit a career-best 15 home runs in 1986 with a .259 average.

Milner was traded to the Giants in 1987 but returned to the Reds as a free agent in 1988.

John Tsitouris

Published in The Charlotte Observer on October 25, 2015

Monroe - John Tsitouris, born May 5th, 1936, went home to be with his Heavenly Father early Thursday morning, October 22, 2015, at CMC-Union. He was surrounded by his family.

He was the son of the late Philip and Verla Tsitouris. He was born and raised in Monroe, NC. Johny attended Benton Heights High School where he met his sweetheart of 56 years, Dottie. His senior year, 1954, he signed to play professional baseball with the Detroit Tigers. He pitched and won his first professional game at the age of 21. From there, he went on to have an incredible career.

In 1964, he pitched a 1-0 shutout against the Philadelphia Phillies that started their epic collapse. The best season of his career was in 1963, when he went 12-8 with a 3.16 ERA for the Reds. He finished the year with 145 strikeouts second highest on the pitching staff. He started 21 games, had eight complete games, and three shutouts. He finished the 1963 season with back to back complete game shutouts against the Cardinals. He still holds the Sally League ERA record of 1.51.

He stepped away from his professional baseball career in 1968 to permanently move back to Monroe where he would live a comfortable life with his wife Dorothy and their five children. He also served in the military, like most men of his era. He was a fun loving man, with a heart of gold, and he will be missed by many, especially his family.

He is survived by his wife Dorothy of the home their five children, sons Philip of Monroe, Eric and wife Julia of Monroe, daughter Robin Smith and husband Garry of Charlotte, daughter Sandy Conley and husband RC of Nellysford, VA, and son Marc of Monroe; his nine grandchildren, Johnny Tsitouris, Brooke Smith, Brooks Conley, Tori Tsitouris, Hunter Tsitouris, Abby Conley, Chase Smith, Emry Tsitouris and Gracie Tsitouris; one great-grandchild, Daniel Tsitouris; his siblings, Georgia Brooks of North Myrtle Beach, SC, Ernest Tsitouris and wife Sue of Monroe, Sylvia Belk and husband Don of Matthews, Steve Tsitouris and wife Patsy Troutman, and many loving nieces and nephews.

He was also preceded in death by his sister, Rachel Biggers and brothers-in-law, Harry Biggers and Charles Brooks. He loved Jesus and spent every night reading God's Word, loved to hunt and fish, but his favorite past-time was watching his grandchildren play in their sporting events. He was a humble, quiet and confident man. He took care of his family and we are proud to call him Dad and PawPaw. He achieved so much in the sports world as a Major League Baseball Pitcher. Yet when one of the doctors at the hospital asked him what he was most proud of, his answer was his family.

The family will receive friends at McEwen Funeral Home on Sunday, October 25, 2015, from 5:00pm - 7:00pm. The service to celebrate Johny's life will be held in the McEwen Colonial Chapel on Monday, October 26, 2015, at 3:00pm, conducted by the Rev. Paul Saleeby. A burial service will follow in Lakeland Memorial Park.

Carlos “Bimbo” Antonio Diaz Diaz Jr.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser
October 17th, 2015

Carlos "Bimbo" Antonio Diaz Jr. 57, of Kailua, Hawaii passed away on Monday, September 28, 2015. He was born on January 7, 1958 in Honolulu to Carlos Antonio Diaz Diaz and Cecilia Rodrigues.

He was a senior driver with Pacific Courier for 13 years and a major league baseball player.

He is survived by wife, Tracy Iwamoto-Diaz; son, Cory Diaz; daughters, Kari Diaz-Ayat and Erica Diaz; sons; Bryce and Vic Miyahira; daughter, Megen Miyahira; brothers, John , Dennis, Frank, Richard, Delbert and Darryl Diaz; sisters, Matilda, Emelia, and Lori; six grandchildren.

Visitation: 10:30 11:30 a.m. on Monday, October 19, 2015 at Hawaiian Memorial Park Mortuary Chapel; Service to begin at 11:30 a.m.

Dean Chance, Cy Young Award Winner and Yankees Nemesis, Dies at 74

By Bruce Weberoct
The New York Times
October 12, 2015

Dean Chance, a right-hander for five major league teams whose Cy Young Award-winning year, 1964, ranks among the great season-long performances in the history of the game, died on Sunday at his home in New Pittsburg, Ohio. He was 74.

The cause was a heart attack, his son, Brett, said.

A loose-limbed — and occasionally loose-lipped — farm boy with a variety of pitches and an unusual delivery that involved turning his back on the hitter until shortly before he released the ball, Chance pitched 11 seasons in the big leagues, twice winning 20 games and enjoying special success against the Yankees, a team he beat 18 times.

“Every time I see his name on a lineup card,” Mickey Mantle once told the sportswriter Maury Allen about Chance, “I feel like throwing up.”

Chance arrived in the majors in 1961, pitching in five games for the Los Angeles Angels at the tail end of the inaugural season of a franchise later known as the California Angels and now as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He had mixed success in his first two full seasons, but in 1964 he emerged as dominant.

Although his season started slowly — he was beleaguered by a finger blister — he went 15-4 after July 1 and 20-9 over all, including 11 shutouts, five of them in games the Angels won by 1-0. The Yankees, who were American League champions that year, lost only 63 games, four of them to Chance, who shut them out three times; in a fifth game against them, he pitched 14 scoreless innings before a reliever lost the game in the 15th.

In 50 innings against the Yankees, he gave up 14 hits and one run — a homer by Mantle — for an earned run average of 0.18. Against the whole league for the whole season, his E.R.A. was 1.65, still the second-best figure in the American League (behind Luis Tiant’s 1.60 in 1968) in more than 70 years.

For good measure, Chance also led the league in complete games and innings pitched.

At the time, the Cy Young Award was given to the best pitcher in the major leagues — since 1967, the American and National Leagues have each awarded a Cy Young — and at 23, Chance was the youngest pitcher ever to receive it. (In the dual-award era, younger pitchers have won, including Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers in 1981 and Dwight Gooden of the Mets in 1985.)

Wilmer Dean Chance was born on June 1, 1941, in Wooster, Ohio. His parents, Wilmer Chance and the former Florence Beck, were farmers.

A stellar schoolboy athlete, young Dean played on state basketball and baseball championship teams for Northwestern High School in West Salem and reportedly won 51 of 52 decisions as a pitcher, including 18 no-hitters. Originally signed by the Baltimore Orioles, he was chosen by the Washington Senators in the 1960 American League expansion draft, then traded to the Angels.

The Angels traded Chance to Minnesota after a subpar season in 1966, and he won 36 games for the Twins over the next two seasons, including 20 in 1967, when he pitched two no-hitters in August (one was a rain-shortened five innings), started the All-Star Game for the American League and won the league’s Comeback Player of the Year Award, given by The Sporting News.

He finished his career playing briefly with Cleveland, the Mets and the Detroit Tigers. In all, he won 128 games and lost 115, with a career E.R.A. of 2.92.

A marriage, to Judy Larson, ended in divorce. In addition to his son, he is survived by a sister, Janet Connelly, and two granddaughters.

Besides his pitching, Chance was a baseball notable for other reasons. For one thing, he may have been the worst hitter ever to play in the big leagues; in 1966 he went 2 for 76, an .026 average, and for his career he hit .066, the lowest figure for any player with at least 300 plate appearances; in 662 official at-bats, he struck out 420 times.

He was also known as a good-time Charlie who served as a wingman for one of the game’s legendary night prowlers and ladies’ men, the pitcher Bo Belinsky.

After retiring from baseball, Chance worked at a number of jobs, including boxing promoter (he managed the heavyweight Earnie Shavers and was president of the International Boxing Association) and carnival barker.

He wasn’t shy. The Angels inducted Chance into the franchise Hall of Fame this year. In his speech, he graciously acknowledged the second baseman Bobby Knoop for making a fielding play that saved his 20th victory in 1964. That was a far cry from the young Dean Chance, who, before the 1965 season, suggested to The Saturday Evening Post that it call its article about him “The Most Exciting Pitcher Since Bobby Feller.”

“My God,” he said to The Post, “you could go back further and call your story ‘The Most Exciting Pitcher Since Dizzy Dean.’ ”

And he added: “Fifty thousand seen me at the All-Star game last year, and I was the best damn pitcher out there. You could call the story ‘From Rags to Riches.’ Or how’s this? ‘The Greatest Year Ever!’ ”

Ronald Garry Hancock
January 23, 1954 ~ October 10, 2015
October 14, 2015

Ronald Garry Hancock passed into the arms of his loving Savior on Saturday, October 10, 2015.

Garry had an ironclad memory for the details and names of all he met because he cared about everyone unconditionally. His life story was unique and full of adventure. He truly was a “bigger than life” kind of guy.

Garry had many affectionate nicknames, but the one he cherished was “The Mayor” (of Buckhorn). He could tell story after story and make you laugh and love life. Although Garry was blessed to make and keep friends, he cherished his family the most. He was always so proud of them and made decisions with them in mind. He was a man of influence because he modeled kindness, generosity and service to others.

Garry was pre-deceased by his son, Justin Hancock. He leaves behind his wife of 41 years, Kathy; his daughter, Courtney (Mitchell); granddaughter, Charley; sister, Karen (Pat); brother, Terry (Jeana); as well as his beloved extended family members with whom he shared many good times over the years (in-laws, nephews, niece, great nephews, great nieces and countless cousins).

We will all miss him greatly and never forget the spice he added to our lives.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, October 15, 2015, at Bell Shoals Baptist Church (Worship Center) beginning with family visitation at 10:00 A.M., service at 11:00 A.M. with interment following at Serenity Meadows, Riverview, FL.

In lieu of flowers, we would appreciate any donations made in Garry’s honor to Moffitt Cancer Center.

Harold Schacker

April 6, 1925 - October 2, 2015

Boza & Roel Funeral Home
October 5, 2015

Harold Schacker went to heaven on October 2, 2015 at age 90, leaving behind his wife Martha and their three children Kerri Atkins, Brian and Dale Schacker and their wives and grandchildren Kaila and Luke.

Harold served his country in the military during World War II and then met Martha while playing professional baseball. Harold played throughout North and Central America and made it to the majors with the Boston Braves. Later he coached youth baseball teams in New York and Florida.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Harold moved his family to Florida where he secured a US Post Office job until retirement.

Harold loved his home and family and lived in Tampa for over 50 years. He was an avid supporter of the Rays, Lightning and Buccaneers. His parents Rebecca and Samuel raised three boys in Brooklyn during the depression era, and now have relatives across the United States.

We miss and love you and look forward to seeing you again and hope there's a baseball team in heaven : )

Former major-league catcher Cal Neeman dies

Rick Hummel
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 02, 2015 11:15 pm

Former major-league catcher Cal Neeman, a Valmeyer native, died Thursday at his home in Lake Saint Louis. He was 86.

Neeman, originally signed by the New York Yankees, played seven seasons in the majors with the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and Washington Senators. His best season was his rookie year with the Cubs in 1957 when he hit .258 with 10 homers and 39 runs batted in as their regular catcher. Neeman hit 12 homers, drove in 29 runs and batted .259 for the Cubs in 1958.

Visitation will be from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Pitman Funeral Home in Wentzville. The funeral is Monday at 10 a.m. at Living Lord Lutheran church in Lake Saint Louis.

Thomas H. Kelley

January 5, 1944-September 25, 2015

Published in The Sun News on September 28, 2015

Thomas H. Kelley, 71 passed away September 25, 2015 in Myrtle Beach, SC. He was born January 5, 1944 in Manchester, CT a son of the late George and Harriet Berry Kelley.

Thomas was a Major League Baseball player with the Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves and ended his career with the New York Mets. After his baseball career ended he worked for UPS for fifteen years retiring as a center manager. He moved to Myrtle Beach after his retirement so he could play as much golf as possible.

Survivors include his loving wife, Diane M. Kelley of North Myrtle Beach, SC; a son, Michael Kurtz of Roanoke, VA; a sister, Carol Dixon (Harry) of Salinas, CA; two brothers, Michael J. Kelley (Evelyn) of Bloomfield, CT and George Kelley (Marie) of Enfield, CT; a grandchild, Jordan Kurtz of Roanoke, VA; a sister-in-law, Donna Merusi (Jim) of Rochester, MA and many nieces and nephews.

The family will hold a private service at their convenience. Memorials may be made to NMB Humane Society 409 Bay Street, North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582.

Yogi Berra, Master Catcher With a Goofy Wit, Dies at 90

By Bruce Webersept
The New York Times
September 23, 2015

Yogi Berra, one of baseball’s greatest catchers and characters, who as a player was a mainstay of 10 Yankee championship teams and as a manager led both the Yankees and Mets to the World Series — but who may be more widely known as an ungainly but lovable cultural figure, inspiring a cartoon character and issuing a seemingly limitless supply of unwittingly witty epigrams known as Yogi-isms — died Tuesday. He was 90.

His death was reported by the Yankees and by the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center Museum in Little Falls, N.J. Before moving to an assisted living facility in nearby West Caldwell, in 2012, Berra had lived for many years in neighboring Montclair.

In 1949, early in Berra’s Yankee career, his manager assessed him this way in an interview in The Sporting News:

“Mr. Berra,” Casey Stengel said, “is a very strange fellow of very remarkable abilities.”

And so he was, and so he proved to be. Universally known simply as Yogi, probably the second most recognizable nickname in sports — even Yogi wasn’t the Babe — Berra was not exactly an unlikely hero, but he was often portrayed as one: an All-Star for 15 consecutive seasons whose skills were routinely underestimated, a well-built, appealingly open-faced man whose physical appearance was often belittled, and a prolific winner — not to mention a successful leader — whose intellect was a target of humor if not outright derision.

That he triumphed on the diamond again and again in spite of his perceived shortcomings was certainly a source of his popularity. So was the delight with which his famous, if not always documentable, pronouncements, somehow both nonsensical and sagacious, were received.

“You can observe a lot just by watching,” he is reputed to have declared once, describing his strategy as a manager.

“If you can’t imitate him,” he advised a young player who was mimicking the batting stance of the great slugger Frank Robinson, “don’t copy him.”

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” he said, giving directions to his house. Either path, it turned out, got you there.

“Nobody goes there anymore,” he said of a popular restaurant. “It’s too crowded.”

Whether Berra actually uttered the many things attributed to him, or was the first to say them, or phrased them precisely the way they were reported, has long been a matter of speculation. Berra himself published a book in 1998 called “The Yogi Book: I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said!” But the Yogi-isms testified to a character — goofy and philosophical, flighty and down to earth — that came to define the man.

Berra’s Yogi-ness was exploited in advertisements for myriad products, among them Puss ’n Boots cat food and Miller Lite beer, but perhaps most famously, Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink. Asked if Yoo-Hoo was hyphenated, he is said to have replied, “No, ma’am, it isn’t even carbonated.”

If not exactly a Yogi-ism, it was the kind of response that might have come from Berra’s ursine namesake, the affable animated character Yogi Bear, who made his debut in 1958.

The character Yogi Berra may even have overshadowed the Hall of Fame ballplayer Yogi Berra, obscuring what a remarkable athlete he was. A notorious “bad ball” hitter — he swung at a lot of pitches that weren’t strikes but mashed them anyway — he was fearsome in the clutch and the most durable and consistently productive Yankee during the period of the team’s most relentless success.

In addition, as a catcher he played the most physically grueling and concentration-demanding position on the field. (For a respite from the chores and challenges of crouching behind the plate, Berra, who played before the designated hitter rule took effect in the American League in 1973, occasionally played the outfield.)

Stengel, the Hall of Fame manager whose shrewdness and talent were also often underestimated, recognized Berra’s gifts. He referred to Berra, even as a young player, as his assistant manager and compared him favorably to star catchers of previous eras like Mickey Cochrane, Gabby Hartnett and Bill Dickey. “You could look it up” was Stengel’s catchphrase, and indeed the record book declares that Berra was among the greatest catchers in the history of the game, some say the greatest of all.

Berra’s career batting average of .285 wasn’t as high as that of his Yankee predecessor Dickey (.313), but Berra hit more home runs (358) and drove in more runs (1,430). Widely praised by pitchers for his astute pitch-calling, Berra led the American League in assists five times, and from 1957 through 1959 went 148 consecutive games behind the plate without making an error, a major league record at the time — though he wasn’t a defensive wizard from the start.

Dickey, Berra explained, “learned me all his experience.”

On defense, he certainly surpassed Mike Piazza, the best-hitting catcher of recent vintage — and maybe ever. Johnny Bench, whose Cincinnati Reds teams of the 1970s were known as the Big Red Machine, and Berra were comparable in offensive production, except that Bench struck out three times as often. Berra whiffed a mere 414 times in more than 8,300 plate appearances over 19 seasons — an astonishingly small ratio for a power hitter.

Others — Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter and Ivan Rodriguez among them — also deserve consideration in a discussion of great catchers, but none was clearly superior to Berra on offense or defense. Only Roy Campanella, a contemporary rival who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and faced Berra in the World Series six times before his career was ended by an auto accident, equaled Berra’s total of three Most Valuable Player awards. And though Berra didn’t win the award in 1950 — his teammate Phil Rizzuto did — he gave one of the greatest season-long performances by a catcher that year, hitting .322, smacking 28 homers and driving in 124 runs.

Berra’s career was punctuated by storied episodes. In Game 3 of the 1947 World Series against the Dodgers he hit the first pinch-hit home run in Series history, and in Game 4 he was behind the plate for what was almost the first no-hitter and was instead a stunning loss. With two out in the ninth inning and two men on base with walks, the Yankees’ starter, Bill Bevens, gave up a double to Cookie Lavagetto that cleared the bases and won the game.

In September 1951, once again on the brink of a no-hitter, this one by Allie Reynolds against the Red Sox, Berra made one of baseball’s legendary errors. With two out in the ninth inning, Ted Williams hit a towering foul ball between home plate and the Yankee dugout; it looked like the end of the game, sealing Reynolds’s second no-hitter of the season and making him the first American League pitcher to accomplish that feat. But as the ball plummeted, it was caught in a gust of wind; Berra lunged backward, and it deflected off his glove as he went sprawling.

Amazingly, on the next pitch, Williams hit an almost identical pop-up, and this time Berra caught it.

In the first game of the 1955 World Series against Brooklyn, the Yankees were ahead, 6-4, in the top of the eighth when the Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson stole home. The plate umpire Bill Summers called him safe, and Berra went berserk, gesticulating in Summers’s face and creating one of the enduring images of an on-the-field tantrum. The Yankees won the game though not the Series — it was the only time Brooklyn got the better of Berra’s Yanks — but Berra never forgot the moment. More than 50 years later, he signed a photograph of the play for President Obama, writing, “Dear Mr. President, He was out!”

During the 1956 Series, again against Brooklyn, Berra was at the center of another indelible image, this one of sheer joy, when he leapt into the arms of Don Larsen, who had just struck out Dale Mitchell to end Game 5 and complete the only perfect game (and only no-hitter) in World Series history.

When reporters gathered at Berra’s locker after the game, he greeted them mischievously. “So,” he said, “what’s new?”

Beyond the historic moments and individual accomplishments, what most distinguished Berra’s career was how often he won. From 1946 to 1985, as a player, coach and manager, Berra appeared in a remarkable 21 World Series. Playing on powerful Yankee teams with teammates like Rizzuto and Joe DiMaggio early on and then Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle, Berra starred on World Series winners in 1947, ’49, ’50, ’51, ’52, ’53, ’56 and ’58. He was a backup player on the championship teams of 1961 and ’62. (He also played on World Series losers in 1955, ’57, ’60 and ’63.) All told, his Yankee teams won the American League pennant 14 out of 17 years. He still holds Series records for games played, plate appearances, hits and doubles.

No other player has been a champion so often.

Lawrence Peter Berra was born on May 12, 1925, in the Italian enclave of St. Louis known as the Hill, which also fostered the baseball career of his boyhood friend Joe Garagiola. Berra was the fourth of five children. His father, Pietro, a construction worker and a bricklayer, and his mother, Paulina, were immigrants from Malvaglio, a northern Italian village near Milan. (As an adult, on a visit to his ancestral home, Berra took in a performance of “Tosca” at La Scala. “It was pretty good,” he said. “Even the music was nice.”)

As a boy, Berra was known as Larry, or Lawdie, as his mother pronounced it. As recounted in “Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee,” a 2009 biography by Allen Barra, one day in his early teens, young Larry and some friends had gone to the movies and were watching a travelogue about India when a Hindu yogi appeared on the screen sitting cross-legged. His posture struck one of the friends as precisely the way Berra sat on the ground as he waited his turn at bat. From that day on, he was Yogi Berra.

An ardent athlete but an indifferent student, Berra dropped out of school after the eighth grade. He played American Legion ball and worked odd jobs. As teenagers, both he and Garagiola tried out with the St. Louis Cardinals and were offered contracts by the Cardinals’ general manager, Branch Rickey. But Garagiola’s came with a $500 signing bonus and Berra’s just $250, so Berra declined to sign. (This was a harbinger of deals to come. Berra, whose salary as a player reached $65,000 in 1961, substantial for that era, would prove to be a canny contract negotiator, almost always extracting concessions from the Yankees’ penurious general manager George Weiss.)

In the meantime, the St. Louis Browns — they later moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles — also wanted to sign Berra but were not willing to pay any bonus at all. Then, the day after the 1942 World Series, in which the Cardinals beat the Yankees, a Yankee coach showed up at Berra’s parents’ house and offered him a minor-league contract — along with the elusive $500.

Berra’s professional baseball life began in Virginia in 1943 with the Norfolk Tars of the Class B Piedmont League. In 111 games he hit .253 and led the league’s catchers in errors, but he once had 12 hits and drove in 23 runs over two consecutive games. It was a promising start, but World War II put his career on hold. Berra joined the Navy. He took part in the invasion of Normandy and, two months later, in Operation Dragoon, an Allied assault on Marseilles in which he was bloodied by a bullet and earned a Purple Heart.

In 1946, after his discharge, he was assigned to the Newark Bears, then the Yankees’ top farm team. He played outfield and catcher and hit .314 with 15 home runs and 59 runs batted in 77 games, though his fielding still lacked polish; in one instance he hit an umpire with a throw from behind the plate meant for second base. Nonetheless, the Yankees summoned him in September. In his first big league game he had two hits, including a home run.

As a Yankee, Berra became a fan favorite, partly because of his superior play — he batted .305 and drove in 98 runs in 1948, his second full season — and partly because of his humility and guilelessness. In 1947, honored at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, a nervous Berra told the hometown crowd, “I want to thank everyone for making this night necessary.”

Berra was a hit with sportswriters, too, though they often portrayed him as a baseball idiot savant, an apelike, barely literate devotee of comic books and movies who spoke fractured English. So was born the Yogi caricature, of the triumphant rube.

“Even today,” Life magazine wrote in July 1949, “he has only pity for people who clutter their brains with such unnecessary and frivolous matters as literature and the sciences, not to mention grammar and orthography.”

Collier’s magazine declared, “With a body that only an anthropologist could love, the 185-pound Berra could pass easily as a member of the Neanderthal A.C.”

Berra tended to take the gibes in stride. If he was ugly, he was said to have remarked, it didn’t matter at the plate. “I never saw nobody hit one with his face,” he was quoted as saying. But when writers chided him about his girlfriend, Carmen Short, saying he was too unattractive to marry her, he responded, according to Colliers, “I’m human, ain’t I?”

Berra outlasted the ridicule. He married Ms. Short in 1949, and the marriage endured until her death in 2014. He is survived by their three sons — Tim, who played professional football for the Baltimore Colts; Dale, a former infielder for the Yankees, Pirates and Astros; and Lawrence Jr.

Certainly, assessments of Berra changed over the years.

“He has continued to allow people to regard him as an amiable clown because it brings him quick acceptance, despite ample proof, onfield and off, that he is intelligent, shrewd and opportunistic,” Robert Lipsyte wrote in The New York Times in October 1963.

At the time, Berra had just concluded his career as a Yankee player and the team had named him manager, a role in which he’d continue to find success, though not with the same regularity he enjoyed as a player and not without drama and disappointment. Indeed things began badly. The Yankees, an aging team in 1964, played listless ball through much of the summer, and in mid-August they lost four straight games in Chicago to the first-place White Sox, leading to one of the kookier episodes of Berra’s career.

On the team bus to O’Hare Airport, the reserve infielder Phil Linz began playing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the harmonica. Berra, in a foul mood over the losing streak, told him to knock it off, but Linz didn’t. (In another version of the story, Linz asked Mickey Mantle what Berra had said, and Mantle responded, “He said, ‘Play it louder.’ ”) Suddenly the harmonica went flying, having been either knocked out of Linz’s hands by Berra or thrown at Berra by Linz. (Players on the bus had different recollections.)

News reports of the incident made it sound as if Berra had lost control of the team, and though the Yankees caught and passed the White Sox in September, winning the pennant, Ralph Houk, the general manager, fired Berra after the team lost a seven-game World Series to St. Louis, in a bizarre move replacing him with the Cardinals’ manager, Johnny Keane.

Keane’s Yankees finished last in 1965.

Berra, meanwhile, moved across town, taking a job as a coach for the famously awful Mets under Stengel, who was finishing his career in Flushing. The team continued its mythic floundering until 1969, when the so-called Miracle Mets, with Gil Hodges as manager — and Berra coaching first base — won the World Series.

After Hodges died before the start of the 1972 season, Berra replaced him. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in that summer, but the Mets team he inherited faltered, finishing third, and for most of the 1973 season they were worse. In mid-August, the team was well under .500 and in sixth place, when Berra uttered perhaps the most famous Yogi-ism of all.

“It ain’t over till it’s over,” he said (or words to that effect), and, lo and behold, the Mets got hot, squeaking by the Cardinals to win the National League’s Eastern Division title.

They then beat the Reds in the League Championship Series before losing to the Oakland Athletics in the World Series. Berra was rewarded for the resurgence with a three-year contract, but the Mets were dreadful in 1974, finishing fifth, and the next year, on Aug. 6, with the team in third place and having lost five straight games, Berra was fired.

Once again he switched leagues and city boroughs, returning to the Bronx as a Yankee coach, and in 1984 the owner, George M. Steinbrenner, named him to replace the volatile Billy Martin as manager. The team finished third that year, but during spring training in 1985 Steinbrenner promised him that he would finish the season as Yankee manager no matter what. However, after just 16 games (the Yankees were 6-10) the impatient and imperious Steinbrenner fired Berra anyway, bringing back Martin — and worse than breaking his word, perhaps, sending an underling to deliver the bad news.

The firing, which had an added sting because Berra’s son Dale had recently joined the Yankees, provoked one of baseball’s legendary feuds, and for 14 years Berra refused to set foot in Yankee Stadium, a period during which he coached four seasons for the Houston Astros.

In the meantime private donors helped establish the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center on the New Jersey campus of Montclair State University, which awarded Berra an honorary doctorate of humanities in 1996 and where a minor league ballpark, Yogi Berra Stadium, opened in 1998. A tribute to Berra with exhibits on his career, the museum runs programs for children dealing with baseball history. In January 1999 Steinbrenner, who died in 2010, went there to make amends.

“I know I made a mistake by not letting you go personally,” he told Berra. “It’s the worst mistake I ever made in baseball.”

Berra chose not to quibble with the semi-apology. To welcome him back into the Yankee fold, the team held a Yogi Berra Day on July 18, 1999. Also invited was Don Larsen, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch, which Berra caught.

Incredibly, in the game that day, David Cone of the Yankees pitched a perfect game.

It was, as Berra may or may not have said in another context, “déjà vu all over again,” a fittingly climactic episode for a wondrous baseball life.

Former Explorer Walter Young dies at 35

Terry Hersome
September 23, 2015 4:54 pm

PURVIS, Miss. | Seven years after leading the Sioux City Explorers to their last playoff appearance prior to this season, king-sized first baseman Walter Young died here Saturday from a heart attack at the age of 35.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 322 pounds when he joined the Baltimore Orioles in 2005, Young’s weight and body mass index (38.2) were the highest ever recorded for an active Major League baseball player.

The Hattiesburg, Mississippi, native, whose published weight reached as high as 340, declined to disclose his weight while playing for Sioux City for the final month of the 2008 season and the first six weeks of the 2009 campaign.

He joined the X’s on July 26, 2008, and had an immediate impact for Manager Les Lancaster’s team, driving in 15 runs in his first four games with the team, including a seven-RBI outing in just his second game with the club.

With Young driving in 29 runs in 26 games, the Explorers went 19-7 down the stretch to win the second-half North Division title before falling to Sioux Falls, the first-half winner and eventual league champ, in a semifinal playoff series.

He returned to Sioux City at the start of the 2009 season, but was released by Lancaster after batting .272 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs in 41 games. He finished the season with Edmonton in the now-defunct Golden Baseball League and that became his last stop in professional baseball.

Young, once a highly touted prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system, was acquired by the Orioles in 2004 and he promptly put up a club-record 33 home runs along with 98 RBIs in 133 games for the Bowie, Maryland, Baysox of the Class AA Eastern League. After hitting .288 with 13 homers and 81 RBIs in 123 games for Class AAA Ottawa in 2005, he got a late-season call-up from Baltimore, where he went 10 of 33 (.303) in 14 games.

It was the only Major League opportunity for Young, who spent 2007 with the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the Northern League, batting .313 with 21 homers and 78 RBIs. He played 55 games in 2008 for Sussex of the Can-Am League before being acquired by Sioux City.

Young, proportioned more like an offensive lineman than a baseball player, spurned a football scholarship to LSU when he signed to pursue baseball in the Pirates’ organization.

Since leaving baseball, he had returned to Mississippi and joined the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department as a shift sergeant at the county jail. At the time of his death, he was working as a school resource officer and pursuing a degree from online University of Phoenix.

Bobby Etheridge

The Smith Funeral Home
Saturday, September 19, 2015

Graveside Services for Bobby Etheridge, age 73, of Greenville, will be at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 19, 2015 at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery, He died Thursday, September 17, 2015 at Sharkey Issaquena hospital, Visitation will be Friday, September 18, 2015 from 5:00-7:00 PM at Smith Funeral Home, 1580 South Colorado St., Greenville, MS.

Bobby was born November 25, 1941 in Greenville, MS. He is the son of the late Murray Aubrey and the late Ezma (Mayo) Etheridge SR. He was employed by Mississippi Marine as a Supply Coordinator. He was a lifelong resident of Greenville Mr. Bobby was a very humble and passive man. He was a man of integrity and was always willing to lend a helping hand. He was an avid hunter and loved running his beagles. Bobby Played baseball his freshmen year at Mississippi State University before transferring to Mississippi Delta Community College where they won the state championship. He then played professional baseball as a third baseman for the San Francisco Giants. He made his first major league debut in 1967; In his first start with the giants, down 4-1 in the ninth inning, he hit a two out triple to drive in two runs. He was also a member of the Mississippi Delta Hall of Fame.

Bobby was preceded in death by two brothers Murray "snow" Etheridge JR.; and James "Jimmy" Winston, and two sisters Mary Jane "Janie" Etheridge.; and Patricia Ann "Patsy" Etheridge, and sister-in law Debbie Etheridge.

He is survived by one daughter: Cissy Etheridge Of Nashville, TN. and two sons: Bud Etheridge And His Wife Tracy Of Greenville Ms., Jason Walker And His Wife Christa Of Oklahoma City, Ok; two sisters: Sue Etheridge Harper And Her Husband Ray Of Senatobia, MS., Linda Etheridge Smith And Her Husband Charles Of Tunica, MS, one brother: Dickey Etheridge Of Winston- Salem, NC.; He also has two grandchildren; Meredith Etheridge Of Oxford, MS; and Brett Etheridge Of Greenville, Ms.

Pastor David Ingram will be officiating.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton dies

Worked MLB games for 60 seasons, Astros for 28; called Aaron's 715th homer

By Brian McTaggart /
September 17th, 2015

Milo Hamilton, who called games with enthusiasm and distinction as the voice of the Astros for a generation of baseball fans in Houston, passed away on Thursday. He was 88.

Hamilton's death comes less than three years after he worked his final game behind the microphone for the Astros, calling the team's regular-season home finale in 2012. He was still a presence at the ballpark in the past few years, but his health deteriorated in recent months.

Hamilton is predeceased by his wife of nearly 53 years, Arlene, who died in 2005, and his daughter, Patricia, who died in 2006. He is survived by his son, Mark.

"It's a sad day for baseball and a sad day for the Houston Astros," Hall of Fame second baseman Craig Biggio said. "The man was an amazing voice and an amazing person behind the microphone to describe the game. His knowledge and history of the game was second to none. It's a tough day."

Hamilton's death comes less than two weeks after longtime Astros announcer and 2006 Ford C. Frick Award winner Gene Elston died on Sept. 5.

Hamilton had a broadcasting career that stretched more than 65 years and included work calling basketball and football games, but it was baseball that allowed Hamilton to showcase his unforgettable voice. He worked as a Major League broadcaster for more than 55 years, with stops in St. Louis, Chicago, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Houston, where he landed in 1985.

A moment of silence was scheduled in Hamilton's honor prior to Thursday's game against the Rangers in Arlington. The Astros will wear a patch on their uniforms beginning Friday to honor Hamilton.

"Today, the entire Astros family and many throughout the baseball world are mourning the loss of our friend, Milo Hamilton," Astros team president Reid Ryan said in a statement. "For decades, Milo had a special connection with the Houston community, bringing Astros baseball to the cars and homes of fans throughout the great state of Texas and beyond. During his legendary career, we enjoyed the privilege of Milo calling some of the greatest moments in Astros history.

"In addition to his great work in the booth, Milo was also an outstanding ambassador for Astros baseball, a mantle he carried with a great deal of pride. While we mourn his sad passing, we should also celebrate Milo's long, wonderful career. He was one of the all-time greats and a true icon whose contributions to the game and beyond will be remembered always."

Hamilton's impact on the game goes beyond Houston. He was given the industry's highest honor in 1992 when he was presented with the prestigious Frick Award, given annually by the Baseball Hall of Fame for excellence in broadcasting.

"During his 60 years covering our game, Milo became one of the national pastime's most distinguished announcers, serving seven different Major League clubs," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "He chronicled some of our game's most historic moments during the era of Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and Ernie Banks. As 'The Voice of the Astros' since 1985, he ushered into the homes of fans Houston's first World Series appearance, the Hall of Fame careers of Nolan Ryan and Craig Biggio and countless other memories.

"I enjoyed spending time with Milo during my trip to Houston earlier in this resurgent season for the Astros, and it was a pleasure to correspond with him in recent months. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Milo's family, friends, admirers throughout the game and to all Astros fans."

Hamilton was in the booth for some of baseball's most memorable moments, including Aaron's record-breaking 715th home run in 1974 and serving as the play-by-play announcer for the 1979 World Series champion Pirates. He also called Roger Maris' 61st homer (recreated on Western Union ticker), 11 no-hitters, Ryan's 4,000th strikeout in 1985 and Barry Bonds' 70th home run in 2001.

"Milo and I were friends for many years," Aaron said. "I had great respect for him and his knowledge of baseball. For me, he was in the class with Vin Scully."

Scully also shared his condolences.

"Milo Hamilton was an enthusiastic and highly accurate broadcaster who was also a dear friend of mine," Scully said.

Hamilton's famed "Holy Toledo!" became one of the most recognizable signature lines in baseball history.

Hamilton's tenure as a Major League broadcaster is surpassed by only Scully. His big league on-air career included stops with the St. Louis Browns (1953), Cardinals (1954), Cubs (1956-57 and 1980-84), White Sox (1962-65), Braves (1966-75), Pirates (1976-79) and Astros.

As far as his time with the Astros goes, Hamilton said Mike Scott's division-clinching no-hitter in 1986 and Biggio becoming the first Astros player to collect 3,000 hits in 2007 are his two most memorable calls.

"A lot of great things happened here," Hamilton once said.

In addition to receiving the Frick Award, Hamilton is a member of the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame (1994), Radio Hall of Fame (2000), Texas Radio Hall of Fame (2002) and the Iowa Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame (2011). He shared the broadcast booth with numerous other Frick Award winners, including Jack Brickhouse, Jack Buck, Harry Caray and Bob Elson.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame released this statement:

"By the time Milo Hamilton was presented the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence in Cooperstown in 1992, he was already a titan among the sport's greatest voices, yet he was seemingly still in his early era for Astros fans, with many of his signature moments in Houston baseball yet to come. Visitors to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum are graced by his calls over a half-century, from Hank Aaron's 715th home run to Mike Scott's no-hitter in 1986 to clinch the N.L. West. His is a voice that will remembered for generations and his legacy is one that will resonate with baseball's greatest moments - in Houston and throughout the country."

A native of Fairfield, Iowa, Hamilton graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in radio speech and began his radio career with the Navy in 1945. He later called basketball and football games for Iowa and Minor League games for the Quad City Tigers, as well as Quad City Black Hawks basketball games.

The game has changed mightily since Hamilton began his career in the 1950s, when teams and broadcasters traveled by train and radio was the only medium to follow baseball. Early in his career, while calling Minor League games, Hamilton recreated games for broadcast purposes and even created his own sound effects.

"I had a metronome, and if you hit that metronome it sounded like the bat hitting the ball," Hamilton said.

Hamilton called a game from his 59th Major League ballpark in 2012, when the Astros made their first visit to the Miami Marlins' new ballpark that April. He served as a guest radio commentator for select Astros home games from 2013-15, with his final stint in the booth coming on June 28, during the Astros' game against the Yankees at Minute Maid Park.

"It's been a great game for me," Hamilton said when he announced his impending retirement in 2012. "I did football for 25 years and basketball for over 40 years, but baseball was the greatest game in the world when I started, and it still is today. When the end of the season comes and I do that last game as the voice of the club -- if you want to put it that way -- I'll still be around doing a lot of things."

Alex Monchak

Manasota Memorial Park & Funeral Home
September 15, 2015

Alex Monchak peacefully passed away on September 12, 2015 after living a wonderful life. He was a Bayonne, New Jersey native, first generation American and the eldest of three children, son of Ukrainian parents MaTrona Marich Monchak and George Monchak. He is preceded by his beloved wife Audrey Guidry Monchak, brother Edward Monchak and his sister Mary Monchak Danchak. Alex is survived by his children: son Alex Monchak Jr. of Texas, daughter Trona Jean Monchak-Carter of Florida, two grandchildren: granddaughter Amanda Jean Carter, grandson Quinton Sagely Carter, and a large extended family throughout the United States.

Alex and Audrey raised their family in Cinnaminson, New Jersey prior to relocating to Manatee County, Florida in 1980. They were founding and longtime members of Saints Peter and Paul the Apostles Catholic Church.

Alex lived a long life as he pursued his passion and childhood dream to participate in Major League Baseball. His ultimate goal was to support the growth and development of both himself and the team as they worked together to achieve a Major League Baseball World Series Championship.

His Major League Baseball career began as the shortstop with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1940. Like many players during that time, his career was quickly interrupted when he received the call to serve our country. Alex was deployed to the 11th Armored Division of the United States Army during World War II and fought under General George Patton in the Battle Of The Bulge, the largest battle ever fought at the time. Following his military service during World War II, Alex continued to pursue his childhood dream of a career in baseball. In 1949 to 1961 he managed in the minor leagues with the Odessa Oilers, Lexington Indians, Wellsville Braves, and the Cedar Rapid Braves amongst others and even took on the role of a player/manager in 1956. In 2013 Alex traveled to Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he was honored for his accomplishments and inducted into the Cedar Rapids Hall of Fame. From 1962 to 1970 Alex worked with California Angels both as a scout and in their instructional program.

Then Alex received the call to return to the Major League Baseball roster, this time as coach with renowned Manager Chuck Tanner. This coaching/management team stayed together for many years sharing their leadership with the following Major League Baseball organizations: Chicago White Sox (1971-1975), Oakland A's (1976), Pittsburgh Pirates (1977-1985) and the Atlanta Braves (1986-1988). Alex's childhood dream came true in 1979 when he was the first base coach, (yes on the field) with the "We Are Family" Pittsburgh Pirates who became Major League Baseball World Champions! Alex continued his Major League Baseball career as a Major League Baseball scout for several teams and was honored as a recipient of the distinguish Roland Hemond Award in 2009 at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Florida.

Upon Alex's passing he was the third oldest living Major League Baseball player and the oldest living Philadelphia Phillies player.
A "Celebration of Life" mass will be held for Alex at 9:30am on Saturday, October 17th 2015. The church location is Saints Peter and Paul the Apostles Catholic Church 2850 75th Street in Bradenton, Florida 34209. Alex's Interment will take place in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

A mass will be held at Fort Myers' Old Post Chapel followed by military honors and Alex's interment joining Audrey in the columbium at Arlington National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation; 5010 N. Parkway Calabasas; Suite 201; Calabasas, CA 91302 a 501-C-3 organization.

George W. Schultz; pitcher helped defeat '64 Phils on way to Series

Walter F. Naedele,
Philadelpia Inquirer Staff Writer
Sunday, September 13, 2015, 1:09 AM

George W. Schultz, of Cinnaminson, a St. Louis Cardinals knuckleball reliever known as "Barney," posted a 1.64 earned run average in 30 regular-season games for his 1964 World Series champs - breaking the hearts of Phillies fans along the way.

On Sunday, Sept. 6, Mr. Schultz, 89, died at Lourdes Medical Center in Willingboro of complications from a heart attack.

"He was an important part of our family and he will be missed," Ron Watermon, vice president of communications for the Cardinals, said.

"He was very important as part of the team, particularly in 1964, when we made that amazing run for the world championship."

During the Phillies' 10-game losing streak that cost them the 1964 National League pennant, the Cards swept all three September games from those visitors.

"Schultz saved two of the games," John Stahl wrote for the website of the Society for American Baseball Research.

Phillies manager Gene Mauch was not impressed.

"Eleven saves in two months. That's more than Schultz had in his whole big-league career," Stahl wrote of Mauch's reaction. "He never saw the day he could get us out before."

(Actually, before the Cards promoted him back to their major-league roster on July 31, 1964, Mr. Schultz had saved 19 games in six seasons, including for the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago Cubs.)

In the last 60 games of the Cardinals' 1964 season, Stahl wrote, "Barney appeared 30 times, all in relief, winning once and saving 14 games as the Cardinals rushed past Mauch's Phillies and captured the National League pennant."

"After Barney's successful appearance in Game One of the 1964 World Series, Cardinals manager Johnny Keane declared, 'Without him, we wouldn't be here.' "

In Game One of the Series, played in St. Louis, the 38-year-old "pitched three effective innings in relief of Ray Sadecki as the Cardinals defeated the New York Yankees, 9-5," Stahl wrote.

In Game Two at Yankee Stadium, Mr. Schultz "entered the 1-1 game in the ninth inning.

"On Schultz's first pitch of the inning, Mickey Mantle blasted a game-winning home run," Stahl wrote. "The towering homer reached the third tier of the right-field stands. Mantle later listed the home run as one of the top five thrills of his baseball career."

The Cards won the '64 Series in seven games.

Mr. Schultz ended his eight-season major-league pitching career in 1965, with the Cardinals, in the year he turned 39.

After working as a minor-league pitching instructor for the Cards, Mr. Schultz was the major-league team's pitching coach from 1971 to 1975, then the pitching coach for the Cubs in 1977 and a coach in Japan, before retiring from pro ball in 1982.

In 1988, he was inducted into the South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame, his daughter, Barbara, said.

Mr. Schultz lived in Edgewater Park for 50 years, before moving to Mount Laurel in 2010 and to Cinnaminson this past June, she said.

Born in Beverly, Mr. Schultz graduated from Burlington High School in 1944, where he was a starting pitcher but only "fiddled with the knuckleball, using it as a change of pace when he was well ahead in the count," Stahl wrote.

Arm problems kept him in the minor leagues until at 29 he joined the Cardinals for the 1955 season. He was with the Tigers in 1959 and with the Cubs from 1961 into 1963, before being traded back to the Cards that year.

Then came 1964.

In retirement, his daughter said, he golfed in celebrity tournaments until he was in his early 80s.

Besides his daughter, Mr. Schultz is survived by his wife, Frances, sons George Jr. and Paul, six grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

He was a lifelong member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Beverly, his daughter said. No services are planned.

Joaquin Andujar, All-Star Who Pitched ’82 Cardinals to Title, Dies at 62

By Bruce Webersept
The New York Times
September 8, 2015

Joaquin Andujar, a Dominican right-hander who made four National League All-Star teams and pitched in two climactic World Series games for the St. Louis Cardinals, winning one and being ejected from the other, died on Tuesday in the Dominican Republic. He was 62.

The Cardinals announced the death on their website. According to an ESPN Deportes report citing the former Reds pitcher Mario Soto, who is the president of the Dominican Federation of Professional Baseball Players, Andujar died after a long battle with diabetes.

Andujar, a hard thrower with sharp breaking stuff, played in the big leagues with three teams from 1976 to 1988. He began and ended his career with the Houston Astros, pitching in the National League Championship Series for them against the Philadelphia Phillies in 1980, in which he earned a save in Game 2 of a series the Astros eventually lost.

He was traded the following June to St. Louis, where, with his strenuous windup and his intensity on the mound, he became a fan favorite and a star. A workhorse in the starting rotation, from 1982 to 1985 he pitched more than 260 innings in three seasons out of four, leading the league in 1984. (Last year’s major league leader, David Price, pitched 248 ? innings.)

Andujar won 20 games in 1984 and 21 in 1985. In the 1982 postseason, he earned three of the Cardinals’ eight victories: He beat the Atlanta Braves in the N.L.C.S., and in two starts against the Milwaukee Brewers in the World Series he pitched 13 ? innings with a 1.35 earned run average and earned two victories, including Game 7, clinching the title.

The 1985 season proved to be his undoing. Though he finished the regular season with perhaps his best statistical showing — he went 21-12 with a 3.40 E.R.A. and pitched a career-high 269 ? innings — he faltered badly in the second half. After beating San Diego on July 26, he was 17-4, but he won only one more game after Aug. 23, and his postseason was simply disastrous.

Though the Cardinals defeated the Dodgers in the N.L.C.S., Andujar lost Game 2 and had a no-decision in Game 6. He then lost Game 3 of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals, and in Game 7 he was tossed out by the home-plate umpire, Don Denkinger, for arguing balls and strikes in the fifth inning with the Cardinals down, 10-0. Andujar was furious and had to be restrained by several teammates.

The explosion was emblematic of the Cardinals’ greater frustration. They had led the Series, three games to one, and seemed to be on the verge of claiming the title the previous day. In the ninth inning of Game 6, with the Cardinals ahead, 1-0, Denkinger, at first base, missed a call and opened the door for a Kansas City rally and a come-from-behind victory. And then, in Game 7, the Cardinals were clobbered.

Andujar was brought in with the score 9-0 and gave up a run-scoring hit. (The final score was 11-0.) He threw an inside pitch to the next hitter, and Denkinger — rightly — called it a ball. Andujar expressed his displeasure, but the Cardinals’ manager, Whitey Herzog, ran out on the field, argued with Denkinger on Andujar’s behalf and was ejected. It was after the next pitch that Andujar exploded.

“I’ll tell you,” the broadcaster Tim McCarver said on the air as Andujar was led off the field, “Joaquin Andujar may never recover from the second half of this season.”

He was right. That December, the Cardinals traded him to the Oakland Athletics of the American League; he played three more seasons but won only 17 more games.

Joaquin Andujar was born on Dec. 21, 1952, in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, a link in a long chain of outstanding Dominican pitchers that includes Juan Marichal, Pedro Martinez (who said on Tuesday that Andujar had been an inspiration to him as a boy) and Bartolo Colon. Andujar was signed as an amateur free agent by the Cincinnati Reds in 1969 and pitched in their minor league system, where he made his professional debut at age 17, until 1975, when the Reds traded him to Houston.

For his major league career, he was 127-118, with a 3.58 E.R.A. and 1,032 strikeouts in 2,153 innings.

Information on his survivors was not immediately available.

Former Astros broadcaster Elston dies at 93

By Chandler Rome / | September 6th, 2015

HOUSTON -- Gene Elston, the longtime Astros radio broadcaster, Texas Baseball Hall of Famer and 2006 Ford C. Frick Award winner, died on Saturday. Elston was 93.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Gene Elston," Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan said in a statement. "Gene helped introduce baseball to Houston as a part of the original broadcast team of the Colt .45s when the franchise was born in 1962. For 25 seasons, he served as the lead voice of the Colt .45s and Astros and called many of the great moments in franchise history. The memories he helped create are cherished fondly by the generations of Astros fans that he touched.

"On behalf of the entire Astros organization, I send my deepest condolences to Gene's family members and to his many friends and fans."

Elston was the lead voice of the Astros from the beginning, starting in 1962 when the franchise was still called the Colt .45s and ending after the 1986 season, when the Astros captured a National League West Championship. He called 11 no-hitters, including one of Nolan Ryan's and Mike Scott's that clinched the National League West title on Sept. 25, 1986. Also among his broadcasting feats was Eddie Matthews' 500th home run.

"Gene worked in the era that radio brought the game into our cars and into our homes," said Nolan Ryan, who listened to Elston while growing up in Alvin. "As a kid growing up in Texas, my connection to Major League Baseball was through Gene and his radio partners. It was a big part of my life. It was a great experience for me to be around Gene when I came to Houston as a player. He had a real passion and commitment to baseball."

His career in broadcasting began in 1945 when, after serving in the Navy during World War II, he was a color commentator for the NFL's Cleveland Rams. A year later he began broadcasting baseball, calling games for the Waterloo White Hawks before moving to the Western League's Des Moines team three years later.

Elston broadcasted alongside Bob Feller in 1958 for Mutual's Game of the Day before joining the Astros as they became an expansion franchise. After leaving Houston, he worked the CBS Radio Game of the Week from 1987-1995 and CBS postseason games from 1995-97.

"Gene Elston brought a classic broadcasting approach to Houston as the first voice of Major League Baseball in Texas," current Astros broadcaster Bill Brown said. "His smooth style emphasized accuracy and depth of knowledge about the game's history. He was the perfect baseball teacher for the generation of fans who built their loyalty to the Colt .45s and Astros through his stewardship."

Elston was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2002.

The Astros held a moment of silence for Elston in the middle of the eighth inning of Saturday night's game and had a pregame tribute scheduled for Sunday at Minute Maid Park.