Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Hector Wagner, a former Major League pitcher, died Monday morning after losing the battle against stomach cancer diagnosed in 2013.
The late right-hander played with the Kansas City Royals in the majors and the local ball played for many years with the Eagles Cibañas.
Hector Raul Guerrero Wagner, born on November 26, 1968, in San Juan Province, died at his home in the city of Clifton, New Jersey, USA, after falling into a critical situation a week ago.
Wagner played Major League Baseball with the Kansas City Royals, a franchise that signed him in 1986 (May 13) recommended by Luis Silverio.
Four years later,
he debuted in Las Mayores the 10 of September of the 1990, remaining at that
level until 1991, being its last exit 11 of October.
legend Jimmy Piersall dead at 87
By Howie Kussoy
The New York Post
June 4, 2017 4:48pm EDT
Jimmy Piersall, the colorful All-Star outfielder who famously was hospitalized with mental illness during his playing career and detailed his struggle in his book turned movie “Fear Strikes Out,” died Saturday at the age of 87.
Piersall, who died at a care facility in Wheaton, Ill., following a months-long illness, spent 17 seasons in the majors with five different teams, which included a short stint with the 1963 Mets. During his 40 games with the second-year franchise, Piersall rounded the bases backwards after hitting his 100th career home run on June 23, 1963.
Before Piersall earned two trips to the All-Star game, and collected two Gold Gloves, his career was nearly derailed following an emotional breakdown during his first full season with the Red Sox in 1952. Piersall was admitted to a mental hospital in Massachusetts, where he would remain for six weeks, and undergo shock treatment, for what was later diagnosed as bipolar disorder.
Piersall returned to the Red Sox the next season, and finished ninth in the MVP voting, remaining with Boston through the 1958 season. In 1955, he released “Fear Strikes Out,” in hopes of erasing the negative perceptions associated with the rarely discussed subject of mental illness.
“I want the world to know that people like me who have returned from the half-world of mental oblivion are not forever contaminated,” Piersall wrote.
In 1957, Anthony Perkins portrayed Piersall on screen in “Fear Strikes Out,” though the subject of the film later criticized its unfair portrayal of his father, John.
During his career, with the Red Sox, Senators, Mets and Angels, in which he compiled a lifetime .272 average, the unpredictable Piersall often drew attention for his antics, which included getting into a fistfight with the Yankees’ Billy Martin, imitating St. Louis Browns pitcher Satchel Paige’s wind-up, and making pig sounds at the legendary ace, and crying in the dugout after manager Lou Boudreau told him that he wouldn’t play.
Piersall retired in 1967, then most notably spent time as a broadcaster with the White Sox in his post-playing career, though he was fired in 1983 for being too critical of the team. Piersall also appeared in an episode of “The Lucy Show,” with Lucille Ball, and worked as a minor league baseball manager.
Piersall is survived
by his wife, Jan, and his nine children.
Herman "Herm" Paul Starrette
November 20, 1936 ~ June 2, 2017
The Nicholson Funeral
Jume 4, 2017
Herman Paul Starrette, 80, of Statesville NC, passed away at Gordon Hospice house Friday June 2, 2017. He was born November 20, 1936 to the late Anna Mae Kennedy and James Robert Starrette.
Herm was born, raised and resided in Cool Spring. Herm was a loving family man who loved the game of baseball. Growing up the youngest of nine siblings he learned the benefits of hard work, farming and the love of sports. His older brothers loved the game of baseball and their influence drove him to want to be like them. He would throw rocks at a tree and pretend he was pitching in Yankee Stadium. That dream eventually came true for Herm.
He graduated from Cool Spring High School. During that time, he learned the game of baseball from Paul Brendle, whom he always said was one of the best coaches he ever had. His battery mate and lifelong friend at Cool Spring High School was Jerry Fox, who helped Herm continue his baseball career and get into Lenoir Rhyne after High School. He always credits Jerry for keeping in Baseball and allowing him to later sign with the Baltimore Orioles. He would talk about walking out of an English exam at LR and telling the professor he was going to play baseball with the Orioles because he thought he would be better at that than the exam.
During his 42 year Professional Baseball career he coached and played with many Hall of Fame players. He credits Earl Weaver, and George Bamberger with teaching him the game that became his life.
Some of his greatest accomplishments included wining a 17 inning game with Baltimore against Gaylord Perry which they both pitched all 17 innings that was suspended with a 1-1 tie. The game was continued and Billy DeMars hit a home run to win the game in the 18th. Herm’s first Major League pitching coach job was with the Atlanta Braves. He was part of the celebration with Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record with his 715th home run . Herm was actually named after George Herman “Babe” Ruth. He was the Philadelphia Phillies pitching coach for the 1980 World Series Championship.
He was still giving pitching and coaching advice during his last days in the hospital to his beloved friends Dan Duquette and Kent Qualls with the Baltimore Orioles.
He enjoyed going to solve the world’s problems with his breakfast friends lead by the notorious Ted Evans, at Sunshine Restaurant and First RX. He loved sitting on his back patio with his wife Betty, visiting with his friends and neighbors that would stop by to visit, listening and watching the birds and squirrels. Thanks to Tim Daley, David and Kaye Padgett (Brutice).
Those left to cherish his memories are wife Betty Lou Sigmon; daughter and son in law, Lisa and Scott Bass; and grand daughter, Laura. Sisters; Hazel Phillips and Bertha Marlow and his many beloved nieces and nephews.
He was proceeded in death by brothers; George, Lawrence, Rueben, Clyde, Jack, and James Robert “Demp” Starrette. His beloved Yorkie “Missy”.
He was a member of New Salem Methodist Church and served in the National Guard.
A Memorial Service to celebrate the life of Herm will be held 2:00 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at New Salem United Methodist Church with the Rev. David Gay officiating. The family will visit with friends following the service.
In lieu of flowers, condolences may be sent Gordons Hospice House (2341 Simonton Road, Statesville, NC 28625), Iredell County Animal Services (430 Bristol Drive, Statesville, NC 28677), and New Salem Methodist Church (155 New Salem Road, Statesville, NC 28625).
Special thanks to Doctors: Paul Kirkman, James Foushee, Carla Pence, and Ray Georgeson and all the nurses and staff at Iredell Memorial Hospital and Gordons Hopice House.
The Nicholson Funeral
Home is serving the family.
Hall of Famer and ex-Senator Jim Bunning dead at 85
The Associated Press
May 27, 2017 2:00pm EDT
Louisville, Ky. — Jim Bunning, a former Hall of Fame pitcher who went on to serve in Congress, has died. He was 85.
Bunning’s death was confirmed by Jon Deuser, who served as chief of staff when Bunning was in the Senate. Deuser said he was notified about the death by Bunning’s family.
Bunning was one of only 18 Major League Baseball pitchers to throw a perfect game in the modern era. In the Senate, his ornery nature forced Republican leaders to push him to retire after two terms.
The Kentucky Republican also served 12 years in the U.S. House. He was a staunchly conservative voice in the Senate and a fierce protector of state interests such as tobacco, coal and military bases. He did not seek re-election in 2010.
The only member
of the Baseball Hall of Fame to serve in Congress, Bunning was the second pitcher
to record 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts in the American and National Leagues.
Funeral arrangements set for Ed Mierkowicz, member of Detroit Tigers’ 1945 World Championship team
By Jim Kasuba
May 22, 2017
Funeral arrangements are set for Edward Mierkowicz of Wyandotte, the last living member of the Detroit Tigers’ 1945 World Series championship team.
A memorial gathering will be held at 10 a.m. June 1 at The Martenson Family of Funeral Homes’ Trenton Chapel, 3200 West Road. A memorial service will begin at 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Mierkowicz was born March 5, 1924, in Wyandotte. He died May 19, 2017, at American House Senior Living in Rochester Hills. He was 93.
Mr. Mierkowicz was a graduate of Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte. Upon graduation, he proudly served in the U.S. Army.
He was considered an excellent all-around athlete who continued playing baseball for many years after his professional career with the Detroit Tigers had ended.
In addition to baseball, he enjoyed golf, football and other sports.
He was the husband of the late Kathryn and the late Janette Mierkowicz. He was the father of Linda Edwards, Brenda Schervish, Lisa Mayra, the late Tom Tiefer and the late Kip Tiefer.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ignatius and Helen Mierkowicz; his brother, Joe, and sister, Clara.
He is survived by several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The Rev. David Lesniak
from St. Timothy Catholic Church in Trenton, as well as the Downriver Veterans
Honor Guard, will participate in the memorial service. Memorial contributions
may be made as the donor chooses.
Robert L. (Bob) Kuzava
May 28 1923 - May 15, 2017
Czopek Funeral Directors
May 17, 2017
Survived by wife Dona of 74 years. Daughters, Diane (Fred) Kramer, Theresa and the late Jeanne. Sons, Robert Jr. and Tom (Diane) Kuzava.
Proud grandfather of 6 and great grandfather of 10.
Bob was a MLB pitcher for 10 years and also a WWII Veteran.
June 4. 02:00 PM - 05:00 PM
3530 Biddle Ave.Wyandotte, MI, US, 48192
MLB umpire supervisor
Palermo dies at 67
By Jeffrey Flanagan
May 14th, 2017
KANSAS CITY -- Former Major League umpire and Kansas City resident Steve Palermo has died at the age of 67, Major League Baseball announced on Sunday.
Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: "Steve Palermo was a great umpire, a gifted communicator and a widely respected baseball official, known in our sport for his leadership and courage. He had an exceptional impact on both his fellow Major League Umpires and baseball fans, who benefited from his ability to explain the rules of our game. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Steve's wife Debbie, the World Umpires Association and his many friends and admirers throughout the game."
• Posnanski: Love of baseball sustained Palermo
Palermo made his debut as an American League umpire in 1976 and was a full-time ump from '77-91.
"It didn't take him long to become one of the most respected umpires in baseball," said Royals vice president of baseball operations George Brett. "I found out he had cancer and didn't realize how serious it was until Spring Training. It has devastated me."
During the summer of 1991, Palermo and another man were shot while trying to help two waitresses who were being robbed outside a Dallas restaurant. He was left partially paralyzed. But through intense and painful therapy, Palermo was able to walk again with the help of a cane.
Palermo was hired in 1994 as a special assistant to the chairman of the Major League Executive Council. In 2000, he became an umpire supervisor for MLB, serving as a liaison between Major League umpires and the Office of the Commissioner.
From that point on, Palermo became a fixture in the Kauffman Stadium press box.
In July 2005, Palermo
served as honorary commissioner at The White House Tee Ball initiative on the
South Lawn, featuring children with physical disabilities. The program was launched
by President George W. Bush in '01 to promote a spirit of teamwork and service
for America's youth. Palermo was honored prior to the start of the '12 All-Star
Game in his adopted hometown of Kansas City.
Sam Mele, Major League Player, Manager and Scout, Dies at 95
By Richard Goldstein
The New York Times
May 3, 2017
Growing up in Queens, where he played high school baseball, Sam Mele had no shortage of advice on the fine points of the game. His uncles Tony and Al Cuccinello were major league infielders, and Tony’s Brooklyn Dodgers teammate Al Lopez, who was their catcher and a future Hall of Fame manager, dropped by to give him a tip or two.
Mele became an outstanding baseball and basketball player at New York University, played for 10 seasons in the major leagues, mostly in the outfield, then managed the Minnesota Twins to the 1965 American League pennant.
He died on Monday at his home in Quincy, Mass., at 95, remembered for a baseball career spanning nearly half a century. His death was announced by his first major league team, the Boston Red Sox, with whom he had a long association.
Mele (pronounced MEE-lee) had been a coach for the original Washington Senators and their successors, the Twins, when he was named their manager in June 1961, the Twins’ first season in Minneapolis, succeeding Cookie Lavagetto.
With a lineup featuring the future Hall of Fame slugger Harmon Killebrew; Tony Oliva, who won his second consecutive batting championship; and shortstop Zoilo Versalles, the league’s most valuable player that season, and with a pitching staff headed by Mudcat Grant and Jim Kaat and molded by Johnny Sain, one of the era’s finest pitching coaches, the Twins won the 1965 pennant with 102 victories.
They were bested by the Los Angeles Dodgers in a seven-game World Series, but Mele was named the American League manager of the year by The Associated Press and The Sporting News.
“Sam was perfect for us at that time,” Kaat told The St. Paul Pioneer Press when he attended a 50th anniversary reunion of that Twins team. “There wasn’t a lot of overmanaging in those days. They just threw the ball out and let you play, and Sam did that and it was the best thing for us.”
The Twins won 89 games in 1966, finishing nine games behind the pennant-winning Baltimore Orioles. When they were off to a sluggish start in 1967, Mele was fired in June and replaced by Cal Ermer, a longtime minor league manager.
Mele then returned to the Red Sox as a special assignment instructor and scout, remaining with Boston until retiring from baseball in the early 1990s.
Sabath Anthony Mele was born in Queens on Jan. 21, 1922, a son of Antonio Mele, who worked for Consolidated Edison, and his wife, Anna, both immigrants from Italy. He played baseball for Bryant High School in Queens, then became one of the leading collegiate hitters in the New York metropolitan area with N.Y.U. He was also selected for the area’s all-star basketball team as a 6-foot-1 guard for the Violets during World War II.
Having enlisted in the Marine reserves in 1942, Mele was called into active service in July 1943 and entered Yale to join a Navy-Marine Corps training program for World War II service offered at colleges around the country. Students in the program were allowed to participate in athletics, so he played baseball for Yale in 1943 before leaving for wartime duty. He served on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific and played on military baseball teams. He was discharged from the Marines in 1946.
Signed by the Red Sox for a reported $30,000 bonus, Mele made his debut for them in 1947. A right-handed batter, he hit .302 with 12 home runs and 73 runs batted in, usually playing right field.
Mele had two stints with the Red Sox and also played for the Senators, the Chicago White Sox, the Orioles, the Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Indians.
Mele led the A.L. in doubles with 36 and had a career-best 94 R.B.I. with the 1951 Senators. He retired from the majors after the 1956 season with a .267 career batting average and 80 home runs.
He is survived by his sons Steven and Scott; his daughters Sherry Ann Mele, Marcia Mele and Marilyn McCabe; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandson. His wife, Connie, died in 2011.
Mele was considered a low-key manager, but he asserted his authority in a 1965 spring training game in an incident that might have played a role in the Twins’ pennant-winning run.
Mele had been unhappy with Versalles’s play at shortstop, and when Versalles seemed to make a halfhearted attempt to field a grounder against the Mets, Mele yanked him.
As recounted in The New York Times, Versalles headed for the clubhouse after the inning, but Mele told him: “Go sit in the dugout and watch the game. You might learn something.”
When Versalles hesitated, Billy Martin, Mele’s third-base coach, beckoned Versalles to sit next to him. “O.K., for you I go,” Versalles told Martin.
“You’ll do it for me,” Mele retorted, “and that will cost you $100.”
Versalles: “Why not make it $200?”
Mele: “O.K., it’s $200.”
Versalles: “Why not $300?”
Mele: “That’s what it is, $300.”
Martin made Versalles his reclamation project during the season, encouraging him to hustle and praising him when he did.
the only one who helped me all the time,” Versalles said when he won the
league’s Most Valuable Player Award, putting the spring training embarrassment
behind him. “He inspired me.”
Luis Olmo, a Pioneering Puerto Rican Baseball Player, Dies at 97
By Richard Goldstein
The New York Times
May 2, 2017
By the 1950s, black Latino players, most notably the future Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda, along with Vic Power and Ruben Gomez, all Puerto Rican natives, and Minnie Minoso, a Cuban, had established themselves in the majors.
Olmo, a native of Arecibo, on Puerto Rico’s northern shore, made his Dodgers debut on July 23, 1943, and batted .303 as a rookie.
He was described by Tim Cohane in an October 1943 issue of The Sporting News as “a strongly built youngster who can run like a Western Conference halfback, throw like a DiMaggio and meet the ball solidly and with extra-base power.”
Despite his promise, Olmo did not fare well in a non-negotiation over salary with the Dodgers’ general manager.
“Before the end of the season, I asked Branch Rickey for a raise for the 1944 season,” Olmo recalled in Lou Hernandez’s oral history of 1950s Caribbean baseball, “Memories of Winter Ball” (2013). “Rickey called in his secretary and told her to get me an airplane ticket to go back home. I changed my mind about the raise.”
Olmo, a right-handed batter, drove in 85 runs in 1944, although his average dropped to .258. He batted .313 the next season, drove in 110 runs, had a National League-leading 13 triples, hit 10 homers and stole 15 bases.
The summer of 1945 would be the high point of his major league career.
In spring 1946, Olmo was among some 20 major league players, a number of them Latinos, who signed with the newly formed Mexican League, which was offering salaries far in excess of their major league pay.
The players were barred by Major League Baseball for five years for jumping to an outlaw league, but the suspensions were rescinded after three years.
Olmo returned to the Dodgers in the middle of the 1949 season, hit .305 and homered in their World Series loss to the Yankees.
But with Duke Snider
playing center field and Carl Furillo in right, he was expendable. Rickey traded
Olmo on Christmas Eve to the Boston Braves. They released him during the 1951
season, and he retired with a .281 career batting average.
Victor D Barnhart, 94
September 1, 1922-April 13, 2017
April 14, 2017
Victor D Barnhart, 94, of Hagerstown, Md., passed away Thursday, April 13, 2017, at Ravenwood Nursing Care Center, Hagerstown.
Born Sept. 1, 1922, in Hagerstown, he was the son of Clyde Lee and Nora Hope (McKibben) Barnhart, who preceded him in death.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his loving wife of 60 years, Alma Catherine (Nagy) Barnhart; and one son, Dwight D Barnhart.
Mr. Barnhart was a 1941 graduate of Hagerstown High School.
He was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II.
Mr. Barnhart was an infielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1942 to 1944.
After his professional baseball career, he worked and retired from the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown, where he was the athletic director.
He was a life member of the NRA and the North American Rod and Gun Club; and a member of the Major League Baseball Retirees Association and the Disabled American Veterans.
Mr. Barnhart is survived by four children, Brian D Barnhart, Cathy D Betker and husband, Paul, of Hagerstown, Keith D Barnhart of Little Orleans, Md., and Kraig D Barnhart and wife, Pamela, of Hagerstown; three grandchildren, Kevin Barnhart and wife, Jamie, of Hagerstown, Eric Betker and wife, Debra, of Clear Spring, Md., and Jason Betker of Hagerstown.
A graveside service will be private and conducted at Rest Haven Cemetery, Hagerstown, at the convenience of the family.
Rest Haven Funeral
Home of Hagerstown is assisting the family with the arrangements.
Former Yankee Bob Cerv dies at 91
April 7, 2017
Bob Cerv, a former outfielder for the New York Yankees and Kansas City A's, died Thursday in Blair. He was 91.
Cerv, who grew up in Weston, moved to Blair to be close to family. He was living at the Carter Place senior living community at the time of his death. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Cerv's grandson, Jacob Lock, read a statement from his aunt, Dawn (Cerv) Ericson, on Friday morning.
“He held my hand for years and tonight I got to hold his as he left. He taught me things no one else did. He was a competitor, a champion and his love and pride for his family was his greatest accomplishment.
“He counted the days with his desk calendar for years. The last time he was able was April 2. Spring was his favorite time of year because baseball season started.
“Dance with mom, give her a hug for me and there will be a game tonight in heaven. Play ball.”
As a boy, Cerv traveled with his father to New York City to see the Yankees play. They watched a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics.
“Lou Gehrig had three home runs," Cerv told the Pilot-Tribune in 2012. "Bob Johnson from the A's hit three home runs, but the Yankees won both games. So I came back home and I said, 'I'm going to be a Yankee some day.'”
Following high school, Cerv entered the U.S. Navy. He served as a radarman on the U.S.S. Claxton (DD-571) in the Pacific during World War II. The Claxton patrolled the Pacific, fighting in battles for the Solomon Islands.
On Nov. 1, 1944, the ship was attacked by a Japanese Kamikaze plane, which struck the water only a few feet from the starboard side alongside gun mount No. 5, where Cerv was assigned.
Cerv was reaching down for a missile when the plane hit.
“Everything was punch-boarded above me,” Cerv said in an interview in January 2017. “Everyone around me was hit. I'm not sure why I wasn't.”
Cerv was discharged from the service in 1946. He returned to Nebraska and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he played both baseball and basketball, earning eight athletic letters. He was Nebraska baseball's first All-American.
Cerv also met his wife, Phyllis, while he was in school and the two married. The couple raised 10 children.
In 1948, he received his first offer to play professional baseball — $40,000 from the Chicago White Sox. But Phyllis had other ideas.
“My wife said, 'No way. You're going to get your degree and then I'll follow you forever,'” Cerv said.
Cerv received a degree to teach industrial arts.
In 1950, Cerv signed with the Yankees for $5,000. He was assigned to New York's AAA affiliate, the Kansas City Blues, for the first few years. In 1954, he made the big league club. He served as a pinch hitter and played in the 1955 World Series.
In 1956, the Yankees traded Cerv to the Kansas City A's — a story Cerv enjoyed telling.
It was a hot day, late in the 1956 season. Cerv was taking a break from throwing batting practice when manager Casey Stengel told him the Yankees had just acquired Enos Slaughter from the Athletics.
The pair chatted before Cerv got up to finish batting practice.
“As I was leaving he said, 'By the way, one of you guys is going to Kansas City.' I'm the only one. That's how he let me know,” Cerv said.
Cerv had one of his best seasons with Kansas in 1958, despite playing two months with his jaw wired shut following a collision at home plate against the Detroit Tigers.
At the All-Star break, Cerv was batting .324 and was chosen to start the All-Star Game over Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams. Cerv finished the season hitting .305 with 38 home runs.
That year, Cerv met Yankees star outfielder Roger Maris for the first time when the sluggers were roommates in Kansas City.
Cerv and Maris roomed together again in 1961 when they were both with the Yankees. The teammates were joined by New York's power-hitting outfielder Mickey Mantle.
“He was the fastest man I'd every seen,” Cerv said of Mantle.
Cerv had a front-row seat as Maris and Mantle battled to see who would break Babe Ruth's single-season home run record. Maris broke the record on Oct. 1, 1961.
In September 2011, the Yankees honored Maris with a special ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of his record-breaking home run.
Cerv, with help from his son, joined his former teammates Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Bill “Moose” Skowron and Bobby Richardson at Yankee Stadium at the request of Maris' family.
It was the first time Cerv had seen the stadium, which had only opened two years before.
he said. “I didn't think I'd ever get there.”
Sievers, Slugging Washington Senator in the ’50s, Dies at 90
By Richard Goldstein
The New York Times
April 4, 2017
Roy Sievers, who won the American League’s first Rookie of the Year Award playing for the 1949 St. Louis Browns and became one of baseball’s leading power hitters of the 1950s with the original Washington Senators, died on Monday at his home in Spanish Lake, Mo. He was 90.
His daughter, Shawn Sievers, confirmed his death.
Playing in the outfield and at first base for 17 major league seasons, Sievers hit 318 home runs. His best season came in 1957, when he had a league-leading 42 homers and 114 runs batted in while hitting .301 for the last-place Senators. The right-handed-batting Sievers also hit home runs in six consecutive games at the Senators’ Griffith Stadium that summer, conquering its cavernous left field in matching an American League record that has since been broken.
Playing for the Senators from 1954 to 1959, Sievers was a favorite of Vice President Richard M. Nixon, who was master of ceremonies at a night for him in September 1957.
In 1959, after Nixon’s so-called Kitchen Debate with the Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev over the merits of capitalism versus communism at a model kitchen in an American national exhibition in Moscow, Sievers was among those at Nixon’s welcome-home party at a Washington airport.
At the time, the Senators were in the midst of a losing streak, and when he greeted Nixon, Sievers recalled, “The first thing he said was, ‘What in the hell is wrong with the Senators?’
“And I said, ‘Mr. Vice President, we’re just not hitting good, the pitching’s not good.’ He said, ‘I’ll be out the next night.’ Usually, when he came out we’d win the ballgame. But we lost.”
The Senators went on to drop 18 straight games.
Beyond the ballpark, Sievers was part of the Singing Senators, organized by the team’s broadcaster Bob Wolff. One day in June 1958, Wolff, playing the ukulele, appeared on the Washington Mall with Sievers, his fellow outfielders Jim Lemon and Albie Pearson and a couple of Senators pitchers and joined them in song for the NBC-TV “Today” program, hosted by Dave Garroway.
Sievers had his salary battles with the Senators’ owner, Calvin Griffith, but “it was a great life,” he told Larry Moffi in the oral history “This Side of Cooperstown.”
“I met Khrushchev when he came over here,” Sievers recalled. “I had lunch with four presidents: Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Eisenhower.”
Roy Edward Sievers was born on Nov. 18, 1926, in St. Louis. He was signed by the Browns out of high school and made his debut with them after military service and two years in the minors.
Sievers hit 16 home
runs, drove in 91 runs and batted .306 to win the inaugural A.L. Rookie of the
Year Award with a last-place Browns team; Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe
won National League honors.
But Sievers was later hampered by a shoulder injury, and when the Browns became the Baltimore Orioles in 1954, they traded him to the Senators.
He was a three-time All-Star with Washington and followed up his 1957 slugging by hitting 39 homers and driving in 108 runs the following season.
But the Senators traded him to the Chicago White Sox in 1960. He had two productive seasons for them, gaining All-Star honors again, then played for the Philadelphia Phillies. They sold him during the 1964 season to the second Senators franchise, created when the original Senators became the Minnesota Twins, and he closed out his career in Washington.
In addition to his 318 home runs, Sievers drove in 1,147 runs and had a career batting average of .267.
In addition to his daughter, he is survived by a son, Rob; a brother, William; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His wife, Joan, died in 2006, and another son, David, died in 1999.
After his playing days, Sievers coached for the Cincinnati Reds, managed in the minor leagues and was a salesman for a freight company.
He also had a brief movie career.
Sievers can be glimpsed in the 1958 Warner Brothers motion picture “Damn Yankees,” an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name and the Douglass Wallop novel “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant” — the story of how a middle-aged Senators fan with a humdrum life sells his soul to the devil to become a sensational home run hitter, leading Washington to a pennant over the hated Yankees.
Tab Hunter, who played the fantasy slugger Joe Hardy in the movie, wore Sievers’s No. 2 jersey, and Sievers was Hunter’s double in distance shots.
Because Hunter took his close-up cuts from the left side of the plate, Sievers is shown as a left-handed batter, thanks to mirror-image technology.
And so, Walter Johnson
and a young Harmon Killebrew aside, Roy Sievers, at least for a few moments
on the screen, could be called the greatest Senator of them all.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
April 5, 2017
A longtime minor-league pitcher with the Cardinals who earned his nickname, “Preacher,” for the seminary classes he took in the offseason, John Edward “Jack” Faszholz died March 25. He was 89. A native of St. Louis, where he was born in April 1927, Faszholz appeared in four games and started one for the 1953 Cardinals. He had a 6.94 ERA and did not get a decision in 11 2/3 innings, but in the minors there were few who pitched as well for as long. In 12 seasons, Faszholz went 128-100 with a 3.63 ERA, and he was inducted into Class AAA Rochester’s Hall of Fame with a Red Wings record 80 career wins.
Faszholz attended classes at Concordia Seminary, and after he retired from baseball he became a Lutheran minister, teacher and coach. He worked at several Lutheran high schools in the area.
“I sort of had a philosophy to work as hard as you can and realize any success you might have is by the grace of God,” he said, per his SABR biography.
A memorial service
will be held Thursday, April 27, at Salem Lutheran Church, 8343 Gravois Road
in Affton. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made in memory
of Jack Faszholz to the Lutheran High School Association of St. Louis or Concordia
Ruben Amaro Sr., Infielder for Star-Crossed ’64 Phillies, Dies at 81
Daniel E. Slotnik
The New York Times
April 5, 2017
Ruben Amaro Sr., an infielder who won a Gold Glove with the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, a team infamous for its spectacular collapse during the pennant race, died on Friday in Miami. He was 81.
His death was announced by the Phillies.
Amaro, a rangy fielder and slap hitter, played in the major leagues for 11 seasons, including a stint with the Yankees, and worked in baseball for decades afterward.
He began his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1958 and was traded to the Phillies after that season. He joined the Phillies in 1960 and stayed with the team for the next six seasons under Manager Gene Mauch.
Mauch was known for playing small ball and focusing on defense, an approach that complemented Amaro’s skills. Mauch was also known for bringing three teams within sight of the pennant but never to a World Series. The first of those teams was the 1964 Phillies.
During that season, Amaro mostly played shortstop, platooning with Bobby Wine. He batted .264 that year with four home runs, each figure a career best, and made only 11 errors.
The Phillies were considered a lock for the World Series that season on the strength of strong defense and a pitching staff that included the future Hall of Famer Jim Bunning, who pitched a perfect game that June. By Sept. 20, they led the National League by six and a half games with 12 games remaining.
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But the team imploded, losing 10 in a row and finishing a game behind the Cardinals, who went on to win the World Series against the Yankees.
Amaro was traded to the Yankees after the 1965 season, but he was badly injured early in 1966 in a collision with his teammate Tommy Tresh.
Amaro missed most of that season but returned in 1967 and then played partial seasons with the Yankees and the California Angels. His career fielding percentage was an exceptional .969; his career batting average was a much less impressive .234.
Ruben Mora Amaro was born in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, on Jan. 6, 1936. His father, Santos, played professional baseball in Cuba and Mexico; his mother, the former Josefina Mora, played on a women’s pro team in Veracruz.
Amaro played in Mexico and attended the University of Veracruz before joining the Cardinals. He held various positions in baseball after his playing days, working as a scout in Latin America and the United States and as a major league coach and a minor league manager.
His survivors include his wife, Lilia; four sons, David, Ruben Jr., Luis Alfredo and Ruben Andrés; a daughter, Alayna; and seven grandchildren. Three of his sons and one grandson played professionally. Ruben Jr. was the Phillies’ general manager for more than a decade and is now the first-base coach for the Boston Red Sox.
Amaro was also a
first-base coach, for the Phillies. It was in that role that he finally made
it to a World Series with the team, in 1980, under Dallas Green, who died on
March 22. The Phillies prevailed, beating the Kansas City Royals, four games
to two, to win their first championship.
MLB pitcher, scout Frohwirth dies at 54
By Brittany Ghiroli
March 26th, 2017
Former Major League pitcher and Orioles scout Todd Frohwirth died Sunday from complications with stomach cancer. He was 54.
"He was a special member of the Orioles family," Baltimore's manager Buck Showalter said. "One of our best scouts and a great human being. He's been a big contributor here."
Frohwirth will be honored with a moment of silence prior to the Orioles-Red Sox game Monday afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium.
Frohwirth spent the bulk of his nine-year career with the Orioles, making 186 relief appearances for Baltimore from 1991-93. He also pitched for the Phillies (1987-90), Red Sox ('94) and Angels ('96). The right-handed reliever was 20-19 with a 3.60 ERA in 284 career games.
A few springs back, the Orioles reached out to Frohwirth to help setup man Darren O'Day with his changeup. The pair stayed close, according to Showalter.
"I remember the only thing he had to get back for was he was coaching a girls basketball team back home [that year]," Showalter said. "Sad. Way too young."
Frohwirth was born in Milwaukee in 1962 and in retirement coached high school basketball in the area, including serving as the head boys varsity basketball coach at Marquette University High School in 2013-14.
Zardon, oldest remaining Washington Senator, dies in Tamarac
The Sun Sentinel
March 24, 2017
Jose Antonio “Tony” Zardon, a Bay of Pigs survivor who started out playing baseball on the streets in Havana, achieved the American Dream when he was signed to play as an outfielder for the Washington Senators in the mid-1940s.
Zardon, of Tamarac, who was the oldest remaining member of the Major League Baseball team, died Tuesday, friends and family said. He was 94.
Zardon was discovered by Joe Cambria, the famous baseball scout who was considered a pioneer in recruiting Latin American players.
“[Zardon] grew up playing baseball and came up through the amateur leagues,” said Sam Zygner, chair of the South Florida Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research. “By 1945, he was part of a major league team.”
Throughout his 12-year professional baseball career, Zardon played in Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela and the U.S. Among other teams, Zardon played for the Havana Cubans of the Florida International League. As a member of the Cubans on August 31, 1949 — when Miami Stadium celebrated its grand opening game — Zardon was the first batter.
In 1961, the Senators moved to Minneapolis-St.Paul and became the Minnesota Twins.
After baseball, Zardon worked at several different jobs, including as a driver with McArthur Dairy and operating his own taxi cab company.
Later in his life, Zardon enjoyed going to church with his wife and spending time with his grandchildren. Until the end, Zardon loved to talk about baseball and share stories with friends and family.
“We’ve had a very loving relationship until the very end. I loved him with all my heart,” said Marlene Saumell-Zardon, his wife of 39 years. “But we know he’s in a better place.”
Zardon is also survived by his children Cecilia Zardon-Zumeta, Jacqueline Canela, Eileen Escarda, Marlene Yeager and Ronald E. Escarda, as well as 13 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his sister Hilda Pereyra and son Jose Zardon Jr.
A service will be
held at 2 p.m. April 8 at the Calvary Chapel, 2401 W. Cypress Creek Road, in
Fort Lauderdale. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to
4 Kids Ministry at Calvary.
Dallas Green, Who Led the Phillies to Their First Title, Dies at 82
By Richard Sandomir
The New York Times
March 22, 2017
Dallas Green in 1981, the year after he managed the Phillies to a World Series title. Credit Associated Press
Dallas Green, a hot-tempered former pitcher with a booming voice who managed the Philadelphia Phillies to a World Series title in 1980 but whose lack of success with the Yankees and the Mets led to his being dismissed, died on Wednesday in Philadelphia. He was 82.
The Phillies confirmed his death without specifying the cause, although they said he had been ill for some time and had died in a hospital.
In his later years, Green struggled to recover after the shooting death of his 9-year-old granddaughter, Christina-Taylor Green, who was one of six people killed in the failed assassination attempt on Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011.
Two years later, on the release of his autobiography, “The Mouth That Roared,” he conceded that he was still dealing with the death. “They say time heals,” he said. “Time, I don’t think, will ever heal that part of my life.”
Green, 6 feet 5 inches and thickset, carried a tough guy’s commanding demeanor through a long career as a player, manager and team executive.
When he took the 1980 Phillies to the championship with players like Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski, it was the franchise’s first World Series title. But he was not very popular for various reasons, among them his imposing rules and discipline that rankled veterans.
“We hated him,” catcher Bob Boone said, according to Philly.com. “He was driving us crazy. But it was a relationship that worked.”
After leaving the Phillies, Green became the general manager of the Chicago Cubs and built the team that won the National League East title in 1984 but lost the league’s championship series to the San Diego Padres.
Green returned to managing in 1989, for the Yankees. He was a fraught choice. He was as blustery as the owner, George Steinbrenner, who had made hiring and firing managers, especially Billy Martin, almost standard procedure. But Steinbrenner, who had attended a military academy, found hiring a disciplinarian like Green irresistible.
They did not get
along. With the team’s record at 56-65, Steinbrenner dismissed him. The
issue, Green said, was that Steinbrenner wanted to fire four of Green’s
coaches. “Why don’t you just fire the manager and then make all
the coaching changes you want?” Green said he told the owner.
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Steinbrenner did, replacing him with Bucky Dent.
The Mets hired him in 1993 to replace Jeff Torborg as manager. But Green could not turn the Mets around over four seasons. During the 1996 season he contended that two of the team’s prized young pitchers, Paul Wilson and Jason Isringhausen, did not belong in the majors. And, at 62, he was frustrated that some of his players did not understand the game.
“I’ve got to cajole, be sarcastic, be nice, insult, pat on the back — do everything I can to get them to play up to how they’re supposed to play, and even that doesn’t work,” Green said shortly before he was fired in late August 1996.
“It was my strength and my weakness — my big mouth,” he said in 2013. “Obviously it worked to my advantage a lot, and it also got me fired a couple of times.”
He never managed again, and he returned to the Phillies as an adviser, the role he held until his death.
Green was born on Aug. 4, 1934, in Newport, Del., and signed with the Phillies in 1955. His pitching career never achieved great distinction with the Phillies, the Washington Senators or the Mets. He began managing in the Phillies’ farm system in 1966, became the team’s minor league director in 1972 and was named the major league team’s manager in 1979.
Green is survived by his wife, Sylvia; his daughters, Kim Green and Dana Ressler; his sons, John and Douglas; and five grandchildren.
“He was a big man with a big heart and a bigger-than-life personality,” David Montgomery, the team’s chairman, said in a statement.
July 19, 1963 ~ March 22, 2017
The Bill Head Funeral
March 24, 2017
Mark Douglas Higgins,
53, passed away on March 22, 2017, in Duluth, Georgia. Visitation will be 5
pm, Sunday, April 9 at Bill Head Funeral Home, Duluth Chapel. A memorial service
will follow at 6pm.
Mark was born in Miami, Florida to David and Barbara Higgins on July 9, 1963. He attended Shaw High School in Mobile, Alabama, Chipola Junior College and the University of New Orleans where he played baseball. As a member of the 1984 UNO baseball team, Mark helped to lead the Privateers to the College World Series.
After college, he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians and played professional ball with the Indians and Milwaukee Brewers for 7 years. He settled in Duluth, Georgia, where he worked at Summit Industries.
Mark continued to share his athletic talents through coaching in the recreational leagues. He lived for Friday nights and Saturday mornings helping coach community teams and watching his boys play. He supported his daughter in her fine arts endeavors and became a “drama dad”. Mark was committed to his family, making sure everyone felt his support to achieve their highest levels and goals. His positive spirit and easy going manner will be missed by all who knew him.
Mark was preceded in death by his father David Higgins of Mobile, Alabama and mother-in-law Sandra Jones.
Mark is survived by his wife, Misty Jones Higgins, his children, Andrew and his wife Kelsey, Alex, Ally and Aidan, his mother, Barbara Higgins, his brother Alan Higgins and his wife Ashleigh, and sister Cheryl Higgins. He was also survived by loving in-laws, nieces, nephews and many lifetime friends.
Bob Bruce, Astros' starting pitcher in first Astrodome official game, dies
By Matt Young
The Houston Chronicle
Thursday, March 16, 2017 9:23 AM EDT
Bob Bruce, the man who was the starting pitcher in the last game at Houston's Colt Stadium and the first official game at the Astrodome, died Wednesday at the age of 83.
Bruce was one of the original members of the Colt .45s, joining the team in its inaugural season in 1962 after three seasons with the Detroit Tigers.
He won a team-high 10 games – tying Turk Farrell – in the franchise's opening season. He was the first Houston pitcher to win 15 games when he did that in 1964. He also had a 22-inning shutout streak during that season.
Because of his strong 1964 season, Bruce was picked to be the Opening Day starter the next season when the Astrodome opened and the franchise was given the new Astros moniker.
"As a member of the original Colt .45s team, Bob Bruce will always have a special place in the history of our organization, playing a significant role in several milestone moments ..." the Astros said in a statement released Thursday. "He was a popular player both on and off the field and helped solidify the Astros as a Major League franchise in the early years. We send our heartfelt condolences to Bob's many friends, family members and fans."
In five seasons in Houston, Bruce went 42-58 with a 3.78 ERA.
After the 1966 season, the Astros traded Bruce with Dave Nicholson to the Atlanta Braves for Eddie Matthews, Arnold Umbach and a player to be named later - who turned out to be Sandy Alomar.
Bruce pitched one
season for the Braves before retiring after a nine-year major league career.
resident, MLB 20-game winner Bill Hands dies at 76
The Suffolk Times
March 9, 2017 4:53 PM EST
Longtime Orient resident and former Major League 20-game winner William Hands Jr. died Thursday in Florida.
The former Chicago Cubs pitcher and longtime owner of the Orient Service Station on Main Road was 76 years old.
“The gas station was like the barber shop in ‘Andy Griffith,” Orient resident Carol Gillooly said of Mr. Hands’ business. “Everybody would be trying to solve the problems of the world and talking about baseball.”
Mr. Hands, who was born in Hackensack, N.J., spent 11 seasons in the majors, including seven years as a right-handed pitcher with the Cubs. He also spent short stints with the San Francisco Giants, Minnesota Twins, and Texas Rangers, winning 111 games with a career earned run average of 3.35.
In 1969 he pitched to a 20-14 record and 2.49 ERA pitching for the Cubs, who were nine games ahead in first place in the National League East on Aug. 13, but ended up losing the division to the eventual champion New York Mets.
Mr. Hands grew up in Rutherford, but summered in Orient, he said in an October 2015 interview with The Suffolk Times, which centered on the fact that the Cubs were playing the Mets in the playoffs (and eventually lost.)
“No one hated the Mets more than Billy Hands,” said Bill Fish, the golf pro at Islands End in Greenport, who played golf with Mr. Hands every Friday for the past five or six years from April to October. He still wore his Cubs hat and rooted for Chicago.
This past season, Mr. Hands got to see the Cubs finally win the World Series for the first since 1908.
“He was ecstatic about that, that’s for sure,” Mr. Fish said. “He stuck around long enough to see it. We were all happy about that.”
Mr. Fish said Mr. Hands was a long-time member of the golf club.
“He was an excellent athlete. He enjoyed golf and outdoors and fishing,” he said. “We hit it off. He was always good with a quick joke.”
Photos of Bill Hands in his playing days as seen inside his shop. (Credit: Chris Lisinski)
When it came to talking about baseball, Mr. Fish said, “You had to ask him questions, but he would definitely get going if you hit on a nerve. He wasn’t going to boast about anything, but if you brought up a subject he knew about, he had some good stories.”
Orient resident and former Suffolk Times publisher Troy Gustavson said he was a neighbor of Mr. Hands and mostly met him at his service station.
“We would chat and invariably, I would bring up the Cubs, because I couldn’t resist,” Mr. Gustavson said. “He was very low key about that, considering he played Major League Baseball and had one of the best seasons ever for a pitcher there. He was always very modest and low key.
He obviously was a loyal Cubs fan, but he didn’t really wear it on his sleeve, even when they won.”
Jeffrey Lyons of Orient, a film critic who has written several books about baseball, said in a Facebook post that baseball immortals like Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle would always make a gesture to show how “impossible” it was to hit Mr. Hands’ slider whenever his name came up.
Mr. Lyons said he will miss his friend.
“I will miss
talking baseball with him, miss giving him the weekly baseball trivia sheet
during the season and reminding him of obscure ‘cup-of-coffee-’
players who were teammates,” he wrote.
December 25, 1925 ~ February 26, 2017
February 28, 2017
Ned F. Garver, 91
years, of Bryan, Ohio, passed away Sunday evening, February 26, 2017 in the
emergency room of Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers, Bryan. Ned was born
to Arl and Susie (Connelly) Garver on December 25, 1925 in Ney, Ohio. He was
a 1943 graduate of Ney High School.
He married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Sims on October 3, 1943. They had been married 51 years at the time of her passing on February 10, 1995. From that union came three children, all surviving, two sons, Don (Barbara) Garver and Ned Alan (Cindy) Garver, both of Bryan, Ohio and one daughter, Cheryl Garver of Defiance, Ohio. Ned was blessed with four grandchildren, Nicole Garver of Sarasota, Florida, Shane (Cris) Garver of Port Charlotte, Florida, Brianna (Keenan) Culler of Toluca Lake, California, and Chase (Meagan) Garver of Blacklick, Ohio. The newest member of the family, Penelope Rose Culler, is Ned’s first great-granddaughter.
On October 7, 2001, Ned and Dolores Hart were united in marriage in Ney, Ohio, and she also survives. Through this marriage, Ned welcomed his stepchildren into the family, Kevin Cottrell of Antwerp, Ohio, Tonya Cottrell of Las Vegas, Nevada and Tammy (Scott) Berenyi of Antwerp, Ohio. Stepson, Marty Cottrell preceded Ned in death. He was also preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Don Garver and Mark Garver; three sisters, Arlene Faye Garver, Maribel E. Duckworth and Alice J. Sims.
Growing up on a farm at the south edge of Ney, Ned and his brothers spent a lot of time playing baseball. Being challenged by two older brothers, Ned developed into a fine young ball player. After pitching his high school team to the state finals in 1943, he went on to Fort Wayne, Indiana and played for the “City Light” team. While there, he led that team to the National Tournament in Youngstown, Ohio. He pitched three games in that tournament, and was seen by four professional scouts. Ned was offered a contract by all four scouts and their professional teams. He chose to sign with the St. Louis Browns in 1943, first playing for the farm club, the” Toledo Mud Hens”. From Toledo, he was sent to Newark, Ohio to play for the “Newark Moundsmen”, where he won 24 games and lost 8 games in 1944. This marked his first year in the world of professional baseball.
Ned moved up to the big leagues in 1948 with the St. Louis Browns. He played for the Browns (1948 – 1952), then the Detroit Tigers (1952-1956), on to the Kansas City Athletics (1957-1960), and then ending his career with the Los Angeles Angels in 1961. With the Browns in 1951, he won 20 games…being the only pitcher in modern history to do so for a team that lost over 100 games. Also in 1951, he was the starting pitcher in the All Star Game, for the American League. Ned has been inducted into the “St. Louis Baseball Hall of Fame” and the “Ohio Baseball Hall of Fame”.
Retiring after 14 years in the Major Leagues, Ned then went to work for Dinner Bell Foods in Defiance, Ohio. During his time with Dinner Bell Foods, he was the Personnel Director for 14 years. Additionally, Ned served on the Ney Park Board, Ney Town Council and served as Mayor of Ney, Ohio for eight years.
Visitation for Ned F. Garver will be held Monday, March 6, 2017 from 2:00 – 4:00 and 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the Oberlin-Turnbull Funeral Home, Lynn Street Chapel, 206 North Lynn Street, Bryan. Funeral services for Ned will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 7, 2017 in the funeral home with Pastor Kevin King officiating. Private interment for the family will follow in Ney Cemetery, Ney, Ohio.
In lieu of flowers,
the family has requested memorial contributions be made to the Ney Church of
God, 03415 State Route 15, Ney, Ohio 43549.
July 10, 1926 - February 19, 2017
Published in Herald Tribune from Feb. 22 to Feb. 23, 2017
Harry W. MacPherson, 90, passed away on February 19, 2017, in Englewood, Florida.
Whether he was on the golf course, enjoying a walk in the woods or taking to the ski slopes in New Hampshire, Harry MacPherson was a born athlete who believed life was best spent on the move. Sports enthusiast, animal and nature lover and caring father and husband, Harry will be dearly missed.
Harry was born in North Andover, Massachusetts. At the age of 17, he was one of the youngest players to be recruited to the National Baseball League. A right-handed pitcher for the Boston Braves (1944), Harry also played in the minor league for several teams, including Atlanta, Denver, Dallas and others, through 1952. He served in the Navy during World War II.
When he met his true love, Wanda Lee Kenney, he traded in baseball for family life and found a new career with New England Telephone. Harry spent 30 years with the phone company and retired as an engineer in 1984.
Harry and Wanda, who passed in 1997, enjoyed a long and fulfilling retirement in Florida. Their later years included many rounds of golf, beach picnics, beautiful sunsets, family visits, time with their three adored grandchildren and endless laughs and good times with dear friends.
Harry leaves three children, Donald MacPherson and his wife, Robin MacPherson, Jon MacPherson and Linda MacPherson Davidson; three beloved grandchildren, Brian MacPherson, Todd MacPherson and Mack Davidson; and his little Schnauzer, Dutchess.
A memorial celebration will be held in the spring. Expressions of sympathy, in lieu of flowers, can be made in Harry's memory to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation at Alzinfo.org.
Lemon Bay Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Mike Ilitch, Little Caesars Founder and Detroit Sports Owner, Dies at 87
By Richard Goldstein
The New York Times
February 10, 2017
Mike Ilitch, a self-made son of immigrants who founded Little Caesars Pizza in a Detroit suburb and also owned baseball’s Tigers and hockey’s Red Wings, building a business, sports and entertainment empire that made him among America’s wealthiest men and helped change the face of his native city, died on Friday in Detroit. He was 87.
His death was announced by his company, Ilitch Holdings.
Mr. Ilitch and his wife, Marian, had a net worth of $6.1 billion at his death, according to Forbes.
Mr. Ilitch never went to college and failed in his bid to make it from the Tigers’ minor league chain, where he played shortstop, to the major leagues.
He found his calling in the business world when he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars, in Garden City, a Detroit suburb, in 1959. It became the world’s largest carryout pizza chain, known for TV ads announcing “Pizza! Pizza!” two-for-one deals.
Turning to the sports world, Mr. Ilitch spent freely and eventually turned around franchises that experienced many lean years. His Tigers won two American League pennants, and his Red Wings of the National Hockey League won four Stanley Cup championships.
He bought the Fox Theater in downtown Detroit in the late 1980s, refurbished it and created an entertainment hub for the city. He moved his corporate headquarters from suburban Farmington Hills into the 10-story building that contains the Fox.
Mr. Ilitch broke into sports ownership in 1982, when he paid a reported $8 million to purchase the Red Wings from the Norris family. Once a powerhouse with names like Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Terry Sawchuk, the franchise was struggling.
In August 1985, Mr. Ilitch, commenting on why his Red Wings were aggressive in pursuing free agents, said: “I hate to lose. I happen to be a fan with an owner’s pocketbook.”
His Wings won the Stanley Cup championship in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008, and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003 and into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame a year later.
Mr. Ilitch, who became known as Mr. I, bought the Tigers from the Domino’s pizza founder Tom Monaghan for $85 million in 1992.
Starting in 1994,
the Tigers had 12 consecutive losing seasons, but in 2000 they moved from the
aging Tiger Stadium to Comerica Park.
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They won the 2006 American League pennant, then lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. They were in the World Series again in 2012, featuring the sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder and pitchers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, but were swept by the San Francisco Giants.
“I’m not afraid to go out and spend money,” Mr. Ilitch said. “It’s been very costly, but I’m not going to change my ways.”
Mike Ilitch was born on July 20, 1929, a son of Sotir Ilitch, a machinist, and Sultana Tasseff Ilitch, who had come to the United States from Macedonia in 1924. He was an all-city athlete in baseball and track at Cooley High School, served four years in the Marines, then signed with the Tigers’ minor league system, but his baseball-playing career ended after a few seasons when he sustained a knee injury.
He worked as a door-to-door salesman until he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars on May 8, 1959. A food service distribution company soon followed to supply ingredients and other products for restaurants. Blue Line Foodservice grew into one of the largest food service distribution companies in the country.
Mr. Ilitch’s charitable endeavors included the Little Caesars Love Kitchen, a restaurant on wheels to feed the hungry and help with food distribution following national disasters.
The Ilitch organization has embarked on a $1.2 billion District Detroit project, transforming dozens of largely vacant blocks in downtown Detroit into a neighborhood including office and residential spaces.
All of Mr. Ilitch’s businesses have their headquarters in the Detroit metropolitan area. His son Christopher is president and chief executive officer of Ilitch Holdings.
In addition to his wife and his son Christopher, Mr. Ilitch is survived by his sons Michael Jr., Atanas and Ron; his daughters, Denise, Lisa and Carole; 22 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
was more than just a shrewd, successful businessman,” Detroit’s
mayor, Mike Duggan, said in a statement. “He was a Detroiter through and
through. Whether he was making pizza, building successful sports and entertainment
franchises or supporting youth organizations in our city, Mr. I helped to bring
thousands of jobs and opportunities to our city and attract millions of dollars
Marshall "Mark" Brownson
Published in The
Palm Beach Post from Feb. 5 to Feb. 6, 2017
Marshall "Mark" Brownson, passed away on February 1, 2017 at the age of 41. Mark graduated from Wellington High in 1993.
He was the 1st baseball player from Wellington to make it to the major leagues.
He was predeceased by his brother Travis. He is survived by his mother Ginny Brownson, father Jack (Paula) Brownson and his daughters Madisyn and Aliah Brownson.
Services will be at Palms West Funeral Home on February 11, visitation from 4:00PM to 7:00PM, service at 7:00PM.
May 10, 1930 - January 27, 2017
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Jan. 31, 2017
Resident of San Jose
Bob was born in humble beginnings in Laytonville, CA by parents John Bowman and Olive Bowman. One of the original pioneering families in Mendocino, his great grandparents settled along the Eel River.
Bob moved to San Jose to attend Lincoln High School in 1946, where he met his life-long love, Joyce Call. He was an avid athlete, excelling in basketball, football and baseball.
Baseball became his calling while at Napa Junior College. He was unexpectedly drafted to the Klamath Falls, OR Triple A team, when he accompanied a buddy who was trying out.
Bob and Joyce wed in 1950. Shortly thereafter Bob was drafted to the Philadelphia Phillies to play right field. With 6 pitching appearances as a position player, he holds a couple Major League records. Bob and Joyce traveled extensively for baseball to places like Caracas, Venezuela for Summer Ball. Son, Bradley, was born and became part of Bob's entourage.
Bob and Joyce returned to San Jose (Cambrian area), retiring from Major League baseball, adding Sheridan and Jacqueline to their family. Bob became Sales Manager at Joseph George Distributing, where he worked for 31 years. Both Bob and Joyce were avid volunteers in the community, with Lucille Salter Packard Stanford Children's Hospital San Jose Auxiliary (Thrift Box on Lincoln Ave) and Camden High Booster Club.
Bob was an extremely talented handyman and helped build his cabin home next to his high school friends, the Myers family, in Lake Almanor Country Club. There the two families (6 kids total) enjoyed year round activities in the outdoors and made wonderful memories together.
Bob and Joyce entertained tirelessly, stressing the importance of having family over on Sundays and friends flowing through the front door endlessly. He was known for his grilling abilities, as well as cocktail mixes and laughter. He told a good joke and was always classy and caring toward others. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at Lou's Village surrounded by life long friends and family.
Retiring from Joseph George in 1990, Bob and Joyce built a new home at Lake Almanor. They became very active for the volunteer fire fighters' "Fire Sirens" Thrift Shop in the Country Club. Kids and grandkids visited often, playing tennis, golf, waterskiing, attending "Family Nights" and cementing more life long friendships. Bob was a great fisherman and golfer. They remained there until Joyce died in 2004. He moved shortly thereafter to The Villages in San Jose, with his furry companion, Russell. He continued to play golf and make new friends in his bridge group. His kids loved having him close by, celebrating birthdays with lively bocce ball games at The Villages.
Bob was a gentle giant who was loved by all. Hes survived by his son, Bradley (Diana), daughters Sheridan and Jacqueline & grandkids Daniel, Andrew (Michelle), Ryan, Lindsay, Micheal (Sarah) and Steven.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in his memory to Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital.
As Bob wished, there is no service, however we're planning an event in the Spring to honor his wonderful life.
Walter Herbert Streuli
1935 - 2017
Published in The Commercial Appeal on Jan. 29, 2017
Walter Herbert "Walt" Streuli, 81 of Greensboro, NC passed away peacefully on Thursday, January 19, 2017 at Whitestone Care and Wellness Center. A celebration of life service will be held at 3:00 PM on Saturday, February, 4, 2017, at Forbis & Dick Elm Street Chapel. The family will receive friends following the service.
Walt was born on September 26, 1935 in Memphis, TN. to the late Thelma Wilcoxon and Edwin "Boots" Streuli. He had a stellar athletic career at Central High School in Memphis, where he lettered in basketball, baseball, and football. He was honored to have been named captain of the football team like his father before him. Walt then went on to play professional baseball for the Detroit Tigers. On April 12,1958, he married the love of his life, Beverly Boyer Streuli.
He later attended Southwestern College in Memphis before becoming Vice President of Sales for the E.L. Bruce Hardwood Flooring Co. After moving to Greensboro in 1974, Walt started and put his life into Streuli Sales, Inc. and its employees.
Walt was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro where he taught youth Sunday School. Through the years, he was also active in the Kiwanis Club, Greensboro Colt League Baseball, and Yokefellow Prison Ministries of Greensboro. He enjoyed traveling with Beverly throughout Europe and especially the many trips to New York City.
In addition to his parents, Walt was preceded in death by his brother Edwin. He is survived by his wife of 58 years Beverly B. Streuli, of the home; children, Tripp Streuli (Jan), Steve Streuli (Terri), and Melissa Streuli; grandchildren, Justin, Christopher, Seth, Taylor, and Davis.
In lieu of flowers;
the family requests memorial donations made to Hospice and Palliative Care of
Greensboro and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.
Warren Wright, Jr.
September 4, 1946 - January 21, 2017
Published in Pensacola News Journal on Jan. 25, 2017
Warren Wright, Jr. was born and raised in Warrington. Ken spent his early years
playing little league baseball and attending Warrington Baptist Church. Upon
graduation from Escambia High school, he signed a professional baseball contract
with the Boston Redsox. While playing minor league ball in Pittsfield, Mass
he met his devoted wife Jill (Jilda) and soon married.
Drafted to the KC Royals major leagues in 1969, Ken went onto play in the major leagues the next four years with KC before being traded with this best friend Lou Pinella to the NY Yankees. Ken played several more years with the Yankees and Philadelphia organizations and retired due to ongoing injuries from baseball.
After leaving baseball, ken had several occupations in insurance, real estate, heating and air conditioning, and coached little league baseball. Ken spent his last 16 years as manager of WEAC. Along with his parents, he was instrumental in the establishment and ongoing management of WEAC for the past 30 years.
Ken leaves his loving wife of 50 years Jill, daughter; Lisa Stefano, son; Kenneth W. Wright III, brother; Michael (Anna) Wright and 2 nieces.
We are eternal, yet like fireflies. We light upon this earth for a season. Returning home, beings of light, dancing with the stars.
A graveside service will be held at St. John's Cemetery Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 11:45 am officiated by Mike Bailey. Oak Lawn Funeral Home is entrusted with the arrangements.
former major leaguers die in Dominican crashes
The Associated Press
Published January 22, 2017
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura (left) and former Arizona Diamondbacks' Andy Marte (right) were killed in two separate car crashes in the Dominican Republic. (AP Photos)
Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura and former major leaguer Andy Marte died in separate traffic accidents early Sunday in their native Dominican Republic.
Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo said Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles northwest of Santo Domingo. It was not clear if Ventura was driving.
Metropolitan traffic authorities say Marte died when the Mercedes Benz he was driving hit a house along a road between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles north of the capital.
Ventura, 25, burst onto the baseball scene with a 100 mph fastball and an explosive attitude to match. He was a fierce competitor always willing to challenge hitters inside, then deal with the ramifications when they decided to charge the mound.
He went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 2014, his first full season in the big leagues, and helped the long-downtrodden Royals reach the World Series for the first time since 1985. He proceeded to dominate San Francisco in both of his starts, though the Royals would ultimately lose in seven games.
Marte, a 33-year-old infielder, played in the Major Leagues from 2005-2010 with Atlanta and Cleveland and returned in 2014 with Arizona. He hit .218 with 21 home runs and 99 RBIs in the big leagues. He spent the last two seasons in South Korea, where he hit 22 homers last year.
Both Ventura and Marte were part of the Dominican winter league team Aguilas Cibaenas, though neither was playing this season.
"We have awoken this Sunday with this sad news that we have lost a special being," club president Winston Llenas said in a statement about Marte that was issued before Ventura's death became known.
Two other active Dominican baseball players have died on the country's dangerous highways in recent years.
St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Oscar Taveras died in 2014 when he crashed in his hometown of Puerto Plata. He was 22. Shortstop Andujar Cedeno died at age 31 in a 2000 crash in the city of La Romana.
A 2015 study by the World
Health Organization found that the Dominican Republic had the highest traffic
accident death rate in the Americas, with a rate of 29.3 per 100,000 inhabitants.
The Bauer Funeral Home
January 20, 2017
Richard E. Starr, Sr., 95, of Kittanning, PA, died Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at the Armstrong County Health Center.
He was born March 2, 1921 in Kittanning, the son of John A. and Emma F. (Walker) Starr.
Richard graduated from Kittanning High School in 1938 and for three years was a pitcher for the Butler Yankees baseball team. He then honorably served in the US Army during World War II and after returning home in 1945, entered the minor leagues. After nearly 10 years of pitching for the New York Yankees, St. Louis Browns, and Washington Senators, he retired from baseball in 1956. Richard then went to work as a processing clerk at Allegheny Ludlum in Leechburg, retiring in 1982 after 26 years.
He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Kittanning and volunteered as a Red Coat for many years at Armstrong County Memorial Hospital. Richard was also a dedicated Mason and was Past Master at F&AM Kittanning Lodge #244, a 32nd-degree Mason at the New Castle Consistory and member of the Orient Royal Arch #247. For a number of years, he coached for Tri-County League baseball and local Little League baseball teams. Richard was also a life member of the Professional Baseball Players Association and was inducted into the Armstrong County Sports Hall of Fame on January 13, 1973, also serving on the organization's Board of Directors.
His memory will be cherished by his loving wife of nearly 75 years, Bonnie I. (Leech) Starr, whom he married February 8, 1942; sons, Richard E. Starr, Jr., of Kittanning, and Rev. William J. Starr and wife, Nancy, of Elizabeth, PA; daughter, Carolyn J. Gallaher, of Kittanning; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Richard was predeceased by his parents; granddaughter, Amy Gallaher; grandson, David M. Gallaher; brother, John A. Starr; sisters, Imogene Steffy and Pauline Starr; son-in-law, David Gallaher; and a daughter-in-law, Linda (Labutka) Starr.
Relatives and friends will be received from 2-4 and 7-9 PM on Friday, January 20, 2017 at Bauer Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., 515 N. McKean St., Kittanning, where a Masonic service will be held at 7 PM.
Additional visitation will be from 10 AM until the time of funeral services at 11 AM on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at the funeral home, with the Rev. Wade Berkey officiating.
Burial will be in Lawn Haven Burial Estates, Worthington, Pennsylvania, where military honors will be presented by the Vandergrift Veterans Honor Guard.
pitching coach Adams dies at 95
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
January 19th, 2017
Los Angeles -- Longtime Dodgers pitching guru Red Adams, who served as pitching coach for Hall of Fame managers Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda, died on Wednesday. He was 95.
Adams, who won 193 games pitching for 19 seasons in the Minor Leagues, was the Major League pitching coach from 1969-80. During that time he coached Dodgers mainstays such as Don Sutton, Burt Hooton, Jim Brewer, Charlie Hough and Rick Sutcliffe, and the team reached the World Series in 1974, '77 and '78.
"No person ever meant more to my career than Red Adams," Sutton said during his Hall of Fame induction in 1998. "Without him, I would not be standing in Cooperstown today."
Adams also scouted
for the Dodgers for 10 years after appearing in eight games for the Cubs in
1946, his only Major League action as a player.
Longtime baseball executive Dan O’Brien Sr. dies at 87
The Associated Press
January 17, 2017 at 9:34p ET
Arlington, Texas (AP) Longtime major league executive Dan O’Brien Sr. has died at 87.
The Texas Rangers said he died Monday in Dallas. The Rangers were one of four major league teams with whom O’Brien held front-office jobs over 45 years in professional baseball. O’Brien was the Rangers’ second general manager, from 1973 to 1978.
He began his baseball career in 1955 as a minor league general manager and spent 10 years in the minors before joining the Rangers. He left Texas to become president and later general manager of the Seattle Mariners. He also worked in the front office with the Cleveland Indians, California Angels, Arizona Fall League and USA Baseball before his retirement in 2000.
His son, Dan O’Brien Jr., was general manager of the Cincinnati Reds during the 2004-05 seasons after working an assistant GM in Texas from 1996 to 2003.
1928 - 2016
Published in the Albuquerque Journal on Dec. 11, 2016
Stuart (Stu) Carlton Locklin, age 88, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, December 4, 2016. Stu was born on July 22, 1928 in Appleton, WI, to parents Howard and Elsie (Wickeham) Locklin. Stu was the oldest of three children, with brothers Mory and Ronald. In his youth, Stu excelled in athletics, academics, and developed a strong foundation in spirituality. A local nun in his hometown inspired him at a young age to live a life of devotion to Mary and the Catholic Faith.
Stu graduated with bachelors and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin, and earned three athletic letters as a three-sport athlete. He signed a professional baseball contract with the Cleveland Indians organization in 1949, and played with the team in Cleveland in 1955-56. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1952 and served through 1954 where met his wife Judy Loomer. They were married in Boston in 1955 and went on to have seven children, Sharon, Stuart Edward, foster son Charles Huycke, Leanne, Stephen, Brian Christopher and Karen.
After a career in baseball, they returned home to Appleton. There he served as a teacher, coach, and guidance counselor, as well as a coordinator of the City's youth baseball program. Stu had deep roots of service and charity in Appleton. He and Judy were proud and active members of various church and charitable organizations. He moved to Albuquerque in 2005 where he resided until the Lord took him home. His kind, compassionate, and generous spirit were a light and a role model to many. At the end, he shared his gratefulness to God for the blessing of a life graced by faith, family, and friends by stating "it's beautiful!"
Stu was preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Elsie, his brother Ronald and Mory, his wife Judy, and children Matthew and Chuck. He is survived by children Sharon Locklin (Ken Heer) of Green Bay, WI; Stuart E. Locklin of Albuquerque; Leanne Locklin (Lisa Gomez) of Albuquerque; Stephen Locklin (Lisa Hanson) of Green Bay, WI; Brian Locklin (Diane Wisor) of Albuquerque; Karen Cantoja (Al) of Albuquerque; grandchildren Shandra Shears, Lorenzo Cantoja, Jazmarie Wisor, Leonard Garcia, and Brian VanDenzen (Liz), along with great-granddaughter Lucia.
A Rosary beginning
at 8:30AM and Mass of the Resurrection at 9:00AM will be held Tuesday, December
13 at Holy Family Church, 562 Atrisco Drive SW, Albuquerque, NM. In lieu of
flowers, please make donations to the Holy Family St. Vincent de Paul, Albuquerque,
NM or the charity of your choice.
NOLA native, former major leaguer ‘Putsy’ Caballero dies at 89
December 8, 2016 - 7:34 PM CST
Putsy CaballeroRalph “Putsy” Caballero – a native New Orleanian who became the youngest third baseman in major league history – died Thursday, his son Ricky confirmed.
He was 89.
Caballero, who attended Jesuit and Loyola, was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as a 16-year-old on Sept. 9, 1944. Less than a week later, he was in the majors.
At age 22 in 1950, Caballero was a part of a youthful 1950 Phillies team that became known as the “Whiz Kids” and reached the World Series. Caballero’s teammates included Robin Roberts and Richie Ashburn.
Caballero played parts of eight seasons in the majors. After he retired from baseball, he owned and operated an exterminating company in New Orleans.
An online post from this summer indicated that Caballero was one of the last 24 surviving players of Major League Baseball during World War II.
Caballero was honored twice by his hometown. He was a 1994 inductee into the Allstate Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame and a 2009 inductee into the New Orleans Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Ralph Branca, beloved Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher who gave up ‘Shot Heard ‘Round the World’ home run, dead at 90
The New York Daily News
Wednesday, November 23, 2016, 10:02 PM
Ralph Branca, a good man who was on the bad side of baseball’s most enduring, climactic home run – Bobby Thomson’s Shot Heard ’Round the World – died Wednesday morning at a nursing home in Rye.
He was 90 and for 65 years bore the “goat” label and private pain with more dignity and class than anyone could have ever imagined.
Branca’s son-in-law, the ex-Met manager Bobby Valentine, shared the news of his death on Twitter. Valentine is married to Branca’s daughter, Mary.
“One of the
greatest guys to ever throw a pitch or sing a song is (no) longer with us,”
Valentine tweeted. “Ralph
Branca Passed this morning.
Ralph Branca should
be remembered for his dignity, not one pitch.
“In his 91st year on Earth he left us with the same dignity and grace that defined his everyday on earth. He will be truly missed!!!”
Although they had faced each other two days earlier with the same results, Thomson’s one-out, three-run homer off Branca in the third game of the best-of-three playoff that won the National League pennant for the Giants over the Dodgers on Oct. 3, 1951 has remained in the annals as the signature dramatic event in baseballory.
Branca, the burly,
6-3, 220-pound native of Mount Vernon, N.Y., was understandably devastated in
the immediate aftermath of giving up the home run that sent Giants broadcaster
Russ Hodges into his hysterical chant, “The Giants win the pennant! The
Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”
The footage of Branca in front of his locker, his head buried in his hands, moaning, “Why me? Why me?” is almost as famous as that of Thomson crossing home plate at the Polo Grounds and leaping into the arms of his jubilant Giants teammates. But from then on, Branca handled his infamy with uncommon valor, accepting it as destiny and God’s will, and later actually formed a bond with Thomson, with whom he did book promotions, public speaking and card show appearances for many years until his Giant rival’s death in 2010.
That winter, at the New York Baseball Writers Association annual dinner, Branca, who had a professional baritone singing voice, even agreed to sing a parody of the home run pitch in a takeoff of the Tony Bennett hit song at the time, “Because of You.”
Facing Thomson on the stage, Branca sang:
Because of you, I should never been born
Because of you, Dodger fans are forlorn
'shot' will live forever
Because of you, they yelled drop dead
And several million want my head
To sever forever in scorn…
“We knocked ’em dead that night,” Branca said proudly, and a week later the two appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show where they did an encore performance of the parody for a national TV audience.
That same winter, Branca, in an interview with J.G. Taylor Spink of the Sporting News, revealed how he’d gotten hundreds of letters from Dodger fans but was pleasantly surprised that the majority of them were sympathetic to him.
“People I’ve never seen have written me, telling me they knew how I felt and that things would be better next season,” Branca said. “They say they’re behind me and they know I’ll make up for it in 1952.”
As Branca later related, another source of strength for him in dealing with his infamy were the words of a Jesuit priest, Pat Rowley, who was the second cousin of his soon-to-be-wife, Ann Mulvey, the daughter of one of the Dodger owners. In a sedan in the Polo Grounds parking lot after the game, Rowley turned to Branca, sitting with his fiancee in the back seat, and said: “It could have happened to anyone. You did your best.” But when Branca repeated his “why me?” lament, Rowley said sternly: “The reason God picked you to throw that pitch was because He knew that your faith was strong enough to withstand the agonies that would follow.”
Still, in 2001 came the revelations in a Wall Street Journal story by Joshua Prager that the Giants, in overcoming a 13 1/2-game deficit to the Dodgers in August, had benefitted from an elaborate sign-stealing scheme, using a telescope and a buzzer system at the Polo Grounds. When the story broke, Thomson admitted the Giants had been stealing signs and that he himself had taken some. But he denied to his dying day he knew what pitch was coming from Branca for that fateful Oct. 3, 1951 home run.
For his part, Branca said he’d known about the Giants’ sign-stealing since 1954 when a Detroit Tigers teammate, Ted Gray, told him about it. A year later, when Branca had signed on with the Giants’ Triple-A farm team in Minneapolis, two Giants pitchers, Al Worthington and Alex Konikowski, came to him in consolation and also confirmed the sign stealing.
“I never said a word about it all those years because I didn’t want to diminish that moment in time,” Branca said after the story broke. “But now I can talk about it. I’m not bitter, but the evidence is irrefutable. How does a team that was 59-51 go 37-7 the rest of the way?”
What was also not widely reported through the years was that when Branca was summoned into that game by Dodgers manager Charlie Dressen to relieve Don Newcombe with one out, two on and the score 4-2, it was his third appearance in four games. On Sept. 30, he’d pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief against the Philadelphia Phillies and, a day later, pitched eight innings – and took the 3-1 loss after surrendering a two-run homer to Thomson in the fourth inning — as the Dodger starter against the Giants in the first game of the playoffs.
Much as Branca longed to redeem himself to Dodger fans, that ’51 season, in which he was 13-12 with a 3.26 ERA, proved to be his last good year in the majors. Prior to that, he’d been a three-time All-Star, with a career-best 21-12 mark with a 2.67 ERA and 280 innings in 1947, followed by a 14-9 record in ’48 and 13-5 in ’49.
In 1947, Branca exhibited another example of courage when, in the pre-game introductions on the Dodgers’ Opening Day at Ebbets Field, he made a point to stand next to Jackie Robinson, who had received numerous death threats for being the first African-American to break baseball’s color line. For years afterward, Robinson always cited Branca as one of his biggest champions.
“Ralph’s always been close to us,” said Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s widow, in an interview with Westchester Magazine in 2014. “There were players who were hostile to Jack and tried to provoke him. Ralph was one of the players who supported him openly. Jack liked and admired him as a friend even after (Ralph) left the Dodgers.”
Added Willie Mays in a Wednesday interview with the Daily News: “Ralph was one of three white players who came to the South and played with Jackie (Robinson) when he was on a barnstorming team. Roy (Campanella) called me in ’52 or ’53. I was in the Army at the time. I was offered $18,000 to play on that team, which was a lot of money then.”
Mays knew all about the enduring friendship between Branca and Robinson. “Ralph and Jackie both lived in Connecticut, I believe, and Ralph would drive Jackie to the ballpark (Ebbets Field) and he would take Jackie home after games,” Mays said. “That surprised me because in those days you didn’t do that stuff.”
Several baseball people referred to Branca’s relationship with Robinson as they reacted to the pitcher’s death, including baseball commissioner Rob Manfred.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends and fellow admirers of Ralph Branca, a three-time All-Star, a friend of Jackie Robinson and a former President and board member of the Baseball Assistance Team,” Manfred said in a statement. “Ralph was a true gentleman who earned universal respect in the game he loved and served so well.
“Ralph’s participation in the ‘Shot Heard ’Round the World’ was eclipsed by the grace and sportsmanship he demonstrated following one of the game’s signature moments. He is better remembered for his dedication to the members of the baseball community. He was an inspiration to so many of us.
“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my best wishes to Ralph’s wife Ann, his daughter Mary, his son-in-law Bobby Valentine and his many friends throughout the National Pastime.”
Through almost his entire time with the Dodgers, before and after his unluckiest day, Branca wore No. 13. A back injury suffered in 1952 limited the big righthander to 16 games that year and he was never the same pitcher. In ’53, the Dodgers sold him to the Tigers and by ’56 his career was over. His lifetime record was 86-68 with a 3.79 ERA and 19 shutouts.
Branca’s baseball afterlife was very possibly more rewarding for him than his playing career. He was a popular celebrity around New York, frequently asked to perform the Star-Spangled Banner at games and dinners, and in September 1963, he appeared on the TV game show “Concentration,” scoring a record 17 straight wins. In 1986, he was one of the founders of the Baseball Assistance Team (BAT), which has raised millions of dollars to help indigent former major league players, managers, coaches, umpires and office personnel.
On Aug. 31, 2010, Branca made an appearance at a memorial service for Thomson in Scotch Plains, N.J. “I came to say goodbye to an old friend,” he said. “We shared some great moments and played in the golden era of baseball, especially in New York. I’ve often said I lost the game but I ended up making a good friend.”
Branca, the 15th of 17 children who grew up in Mount Vernon, attended NYU and lived at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., is survived by his wife, Ann, whom he married Oct. 29, 1951, and two daughters, Patti and Mary, who is married to former Mets manager Bobby Valentine.
Rep. Pete King called Branca a “New York legend” in a statement released by the congressman’s office.
“I just received the sad news that my good friend Ralph Branca has passed away,” King wrote. “Ralph was a New York legend who was a star pitcher on the famed Brooklyn Dodgers ‘Boys of Summer’ teams of the 1940s and ’50s. Even more importantly, Ralph and his wonderful wife Ann were the epitome of class, representing the very best of New York and baseball.”
Said Rachel Robinson Wednesday: “Ralph was a true friend and I loved him. He and Ann were among our dearest Dodger family friends. He was a man of integrity and humility and we felt his sincerity. I will treasure my warm memories of our times together. I was very saddened to receive this news.”
Boo Ferriss, 94; helped lead Sox to 1946 pennant
By Mark Feeney Globe Staff November 24, 2016
Dave “Boo” Ferriss, the Red Sox righthander who as staff ace helped pitch the team to the American League pennant in 1946, then saw his career cut short by a shoulder injury, died Thursday at his home in Cleveland, Miss. He was 94.
Mr. Ferriss, who was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2002, was the classic pitching phenom. He was an All-Star his first two seasons in the majors, compiling a win-loss record of 46-16.
In 1945, Mr. Ferriss began his career with 22? consecutive shutout innings, establishing an American League record that lasted for 63 years. He reached 20 wins in only 30 career appearances, a record held with three other pitchers. He was fourth in voting for AL most valuable player.
In 1946, Mr. Ferriss led the major leagues with an .806 win-loss percentage and pitched a complete-game shutout in the World Series. The Red Sox lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.
“I wasn’t a power pitcher,” Mr. Ferriss said to David Halberstam in a 2002 interview for his book “The Teammates.” “My best pitch was the sinker that bore in on right-handed hitters and away from lefties. For me to be successful, my control had to be very good. I wasn’t going to strike out a lot of hitters. If I got four or five strikeouts a game that was a good game.”
Mr. Ferriss’s 13-0 start at Fenway Park in 1946 was matched this year by Rick Porcello.
It was assumed Mr. Ferriss would be the cornerstone of a standout Red Sox pitching staff for many years. Mr. Ferriss, along with his fellow pitchers Tex Hughson and Mickey Harris, turned out to be one of the great might-have-beens in a Red Sox history full of them. In 1947, they all developed arm trouble. Mr. Ferriss’s would dog him the rest of his abbreviated career.
“The first two years I pitched over 500 innings,” Mr. Ferriss noted in a 1999 Globe interview, speculating as to the cause of his arm trouble.
Pitching against the Cleveland Indians in 1947, he felt a burning sensation in his right shoulder. “I won that game, 1-0,” he recalled in a 2002 interview with MLB.com. “I was never the same after that.”
In all likelihood, Mr. Ferriss had suffered an injury to his rotator cuff. He had one more moment of pitching glory for the Red Sox. He came in from the bullpen in the last game of the 1948 season with the bases loaded against the Yankees. He retired Hank Bauer and Joe DiMaggio to preserve a Red Sox victory that put them in a tie with the Indians for first place in the AL. Cleveland beat the Red Sox in a one-game playoff.
Mr. Ferriss posted a 12-11 won-lost record in 1947, and 7-3 the next year. He made just four appearances in 1949 and only one in 1950. He pitched for Louisville, the Red Sox’s Triple-A affiliate, until 1954. He became Red Sox pitching coach in 1955, a post he held for the next five seasons.
Mr. Ferriss compiled a career record of 65-30 and an earned run average of 3.74.
“I’m sorry my arm injury came along,” he said in that MLB.com interview, “but that’s baseball. There was nothing I could do about that.”
David Meadow Ferriss was born on Dec. 5, 1921, in Shaw, Miss. His father, William D. Ferriss, was a cotton farmer, and his mother, Lellie (Meadow) Ferriss, a postal worker. Mr. Ferriss received his nickname because as a toddler that’s how he pronounced “brother.” So universal was the use of the name that Mr. Ferriss later had himself listed as “Boo” in the Cleveland, Miss., telephone directory.
“I was always crazy about baseball,” Mr. Ferriss said in a 1945 Globe interview. “I can remember being bawled out for wearing my baseball cap to Sunday school.”
At 15, his high school coach switched him from middle infielder to pitcher. He never lost his ability at the plate, though. The Red Sox used Mr. Ferriss as a pinch hitter 41 times, and he had a very respectable career batting average of .250.
Mr. Ferriss was the first baseball player to receive a full athletic scholarship at Mississippi State University. He was later inducted into the school’s hall of fame and had his number there retired.
Mr. Ferriss enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1942, rising to the rank of corporal. He received a medical discharge in 1945 because of severe asthma. After joining the Red Sox, his asthma would occasionally affect his pitching.
His wife, Miriam, fondly remembered the Boston area — and particularly their neighborhood in Needham — in a phone interview Thursday.
“The friends we made in Boston was one of the things we loved the most,” she said. “We just loved Boston. Our children did, too.’’
A country boy whose strongest expletive was “Shuck-uns,” Mr. Ferriss returned to Mississippi after his five seasons as Red Sox pitching coach. He became athletic director and baseball coach at Delta State University. He also spent 1½ years as assistant athletic director at Mississippi State. During his 26 seasons coaching at Delta State, Mr. Ferriss’s teams compiled a record of 639-387 and went to the NCAA Division II College World Series three times. Mr. Ferriss retired in 1988. That year, Delta State named its baseball field in his honor.
“Everyone claims him,’’ said Joe Dier, a former official with Mississippi State, according to the Clarion-Ledger. “Delta State claims him. Mississippi State claims him. Mississippi claims him. The Boston Red Sox claims him. And everybody has their idea of what the best is. And he kind of fits it for everybody.’’
Mr. Ferriss coached several players who went on to the big leagues. But his most auspicious bit of coaching contributed to the best-seller list rather than baseball. A junior college transfer named John Grisham had trouble hitting curveballs. As Grisham later recalled it, Mr. Ferriss “told me I should apply myself to books.”
In addition to his wife, Miriam, of Cleveland, Miss., Mr. Ferriss leaves a son, David Jr. of Brentwood, Tenn.; a daughter, Margaret, of Madison, Miss.; two grandchildren; and three great grandchildren.
A memorial service
will be held at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Cleveland at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
1935 - 2016
The Las Vegas Review-Journal
November 11, 2016
Russ Nixon, 81, a former Major League Baseball player, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in Las Vegas. A baseball veteran for 56 years, Russ was a major-league player for 12 seasons and a scout, coach and manager for 44 more at virtually every level of the sport.
Russ was born Feb. 19, 1935, in Cleves, Ohio, along with his twin brother, Roy. It was his grandfather's love of baseball that started him on the path to professional baseball. Russ graduated from Western Hills High School in Cincinnati and signed with the Cleveland Indians shortly thereafter in 1953. He played 12 seasons as a catcher in the American League with the Indians, Red Sox and Twins.
His coaching and managing career began in Cincinnati Red's farm system in 1970 and was the third base coach for the "Big Red Machine" in the 1976 World Series. He managed the Cincinnati Reds in 1982 and 1983 and later managed the Atlanta Braves from 1988 to 1990. He spent the remainder of his career doing what he loved, developing young players with the San Diego Padres, Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers organizations. He retired from baseball in 2009. He has the distinction of being active in Major League Baseball for 56 consecutive years in various roles.
Russ married Glenda (nee Carder) July 1, 1954 and they were married 62 years. Russ is preceded in death by his granddaughter, Lindsey Nixon. Russ is survived by his wife Glenda; daughters, Rebel Dahlberg (Mark), Misty Steinhauer (Mark) and Samantha Linares (Mike); son, Chris Nixon (Gloria); grandchildren, Chantal, Abby, Kaylin, Culver, Clare, Ava and Lana; four great-grandchildren; identical twin brother, Roy Nixon (Arlene); nieces, Lori, Julie and Vicky; nephews, Kirk and Keith; and many other relatives. Services will be private.
James "Marlan" Coughtry
September 11, 1934 ~ November 8, 2016
Published in The
Columbian on Nov. 27, 2016
"Marlan was a great Husband, Father, Grandfather, and Friend. He will be greatly missed."
James "Marlan" Coughtry was born Sept. 11th, 1934 in Hollywood, CA. He went to heaven Nov. 8th, 2016 in Vancouver, WA peacefully in his sleep at 82 years old.
Marlan's younger years were filled with baseball and the Chipmunks car club, with him being President. He played ball for the Boston Red Sox, California Angles and Cleveland Indians to name a few.
Marlan had many hobbies, he was always busy. There was never anything he put his mind to that he didn't accomplish. He was a active member of Vancouver First Friends Church until his passing.
Marlan is survived by 3 children, Kathy (Paul) Keeler, Jon (Karla) Coughtry and Kevin (Evelyn) Coughtry; 2 step-children, Paul Reed and Angela Shaw; 7 grandchildren; and 3 step-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by 2 wives, Joanna and Sylvia.
A memorial service will be held at Vancouver First Friends Church on Sat., Dec. 3rd at 2p.m.
In lieu of flowers, make donations to Vancouver First Friends Twin Rocks Scholarships in Marlan's memory.
Former major leaguer Eddie 'Lefty' Carnett dies at 100
The Sporting News
November 4, 2016 7:58pm EDT
Two weeks after turning 100, the oldest living major league player has died.
Eddie "Lefty" Carnett died in Ringling, Okla., with his family surrounding him, the Mariners announced.
MORE: Notable sports deaths of 2016
Carnett played for the Braves, White Sox and Indians from 1941 to 1945. He also played for the Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League, among many other minor league clubs. He was an outfielder, first baseman and pitcher. He was also a player-manager for six seasons in the minor leagues.
At 95, Carnett threw
out the first pitch at Safeco Field in 2012 as the Mariners wore Rainiers jerseys
during "Turn Back the Clock" night.
Robert "Bob" Addis
1925 - 2016
Published in The News-Herald.com on Nov. 17, 2016
Robert "Bob" Addis passed away on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at the age of 91. He was born on November 6, 1925 in Mineral, Ohio.
Bob served in the Marine Corps during WWII and then went on to play professional baseball for ten years. He earned his Masters in Education from Kent State University followed by a 34 year career at Euclid High School as a teacher, baseball coach and Athletic Director. He was a longtime member of the Euclid Rotary Club and an avid golfer.
Bob is survived by his two daughters, Suzanne Baiz (Mark) and Jane; grandchildren, Robert and Sarah and great-granddaughter, Blake.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Marjorie; his parents, Lewis and Sylvia and brother, Emmett.
The family will receive friends 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, November 18, 2016 at Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home & Cremation Center 8466 Mentor Ave., Mentor, Ohio 44060.
The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, November 19, 2016 at St. Hubert's Episcopal Church, 8870 Baldwin Rd, Kirtland Hills, Ohio 44060.
Interment service will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Greenlawn Cemetery, 2582 Romig Road, Akron, Ohio 44320.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Euclid High School Sports Hall of Fame c/o Alumni Office, 711 East 222nd St. Euclid, Ohio 44123.
November 10th, 2016
Mark S. Johnson,
65, of Kailua, Oahu died October 26, 2016. He was born in Louisville, KY.
Mark spent 20 years as a Major League umpire. He officiated 2 All-Star games (Wrigley Field, Fenway Park), multiple playoff games, and the 1993 World Series before retiring to his home in Mt. Washington, KY.
He liked to golf, fish, hunt and spend time with friends, old and new; but he loved Kentucky basketball. His dream was to move to Hawaii in his retirement, which he did in 2011.
He is survived by his wife Lilia; son, Kyle; and Old English Mastiff, "Baby". A Celebration of Life service will be held at Murphy's (2 Merchant St., Honolulu) on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016 at 1 pm. Casual attire requested, UK Blue, preferred.
Arrangements Provided By: Nuuanu Memorial Park & Mortuary, LLC
John Orsino, who spent 7 seasons in majors, dies at 78
By The Associated
November 3, 2016
John Orsino, one of the San Francisco players who hit a record-tying five home runs in a 12-run ninth inning in a 1961 game at Cincinnati, has died. He was 78.
Orsino died Tuesday at Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, following a lengthy illness, according to his wife, Honey.
A catcher and first baseman who was born in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Orsino spent seven seasons in the major leagues with the Giants (1961-62), Baltimore (1963-65) and Washington (1966-67), hitting .249 with 40 home runs and 123 RBIs.
His best season was 1963, when he homered in his first five spring training games with the Orioles and went on to bat .272 with 19 home runs and 56 RBIs.
Orsino was part of the home run barrage by the Giants in a 14-0 win at Cincinnati's Crosley Field on Aug. 23, 1961. Orlando Cepeda and Felipe Alou hit consecutive home runs, Jim Davenport had an inside-the-park homer, Willie Mays went deep and Orsino capped the burst with a three-run homer.
Orsino was the baseball coach at Fairleigh Dickinson from 1970-76 and in 1980, leading the team to a 125-120-2 record, and later became the golf pro at Emerson Country Club in Emerson, New Jersey, and the Indian Spring Country Club in Boynton Beach, Florida. He was men's golf coach at Florida Atlantic from October 2004 to November 2006.
He is survived by his wife
and two children from an earlier marriage, a daughter, Jeryl, and a son, Jay.
A funeral is scheduled for Saturday at Landmark Funeral Home in Hollywood, Florida.
former major league baseball player dies
By Jason Malloy
Published on November 2, 2016
Friends and family are mourning the death of the only Prince Edward Island native to play Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era.
James Vernon (Vern) Handrahan died Wednesday. The Charlottetown native was 79.
His former P.E.I. teammates painted a picture Wednesday of a devoted family man with no bad habits, who was always willing to give back to others while deflecting any recognition.
“Vern was a very humble person, never sought any attention,” said friend Bobby Lund.
“He’s going to be sorely missed,” he added of his former teammate. “He was so good with everybody and a real role model.”
Handrahan started playing baseball when he was 15 years old. He was a good all-around athlete, but it was on the mound he excelled.
“He never saw himself as being the centrepiece of the team,” Don Leclair said. “He was a terrific all-around ball player. He wasn't just a pitcher.”
Leclair was catching the day the coach called Handrahan in from the outfield to make his pitching debut. The right-handed hurler, Leclair said, was exceptionally fast.
“He had a fantastic arm and he rode that arm all the way to 12 years of professional baseball,” Lund said.
It included stops with minor league teams in New York, Wisconsin, Idaho and Orgeon.
Six years after picking up the sport, Handrahan caught the attention of a pro scout while playing for the Stellarton Albions in Nova Scotia. In 1959, he signed with the Milwaukee Braves.
He played two seasons with the Kansas City Athletics in the MLB. He amassed a 0-2 record with a 5.31 earned-run average in 34 games. He also had two hits as a batter.
From Memorial Field to Yankee Stadium, Handrahan made it the top level of baseball during a time when there were no YouTube videos of players or information on prospects readily available as it is today. It was before the Montreal Expos or Toronto Blue Jays were born.
“A Canadian, let alone an Islander, to make it up through those ranks was unbelievable,” said Fred (Fiddler) MacDonald, a sports columnist with The Guardian and a batboy for Charlottetown teams in the 1950s that Handrahan played for. “A first-class gentleman who never said anything bad about anybody.”
Leclair played ball with Handrahan after his professional career. Pitching against the likes of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle hadn’t changed Handrahan.
Leclair remembers a fan getting on him once during an oldtimers game in Stellarton, saying how Handrahan wasn’t that good.
“He threw two or three pitches that I think illustrated to them that he certainly was capable of playing professional baseball,” Leclair said. “But he was the type of guy that wasn't out there to exhibit how good he was, rather he was thinking of the poor guy who was up at-bat and giving him the opportunity to make contact.”
Lund said he referenced Handrahan while coaching kids.
“I'd always say, ‘Don't give up if you have a dream because here’s a fella who had a dream and at the age of 21 it came to fruition,’ so to speak,” he said.
Handrahan was the
first inductee into the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame in 1968.
1931 - 2016
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Nov. 6, 2016
Joe was born Oct. 4, 1931, and passed from our world Oct. 19, 2016. He was at home at peace with his family. He was the son of Joseph John Kirrene, Sr., and Florence Agnes Kirrene, and is survived by his wife of 63 years, Grace Anne Johnson Kirrene; son Michael Kirrene (Virginia); grandchildren Stephen Kirrene, Carolyn Kirrene Breaud (Scott); and two great grandchildren. Joe is also survived by his brothers, Jerry (Rosemary), Bob (Julie), and Tom Kirrene (Linda);sister-in-law Georganna Niver, and many nieces and nephews.
Joe was born in
San Francisco; his family moved to Sacramento in 1940. He was a graduate of
Christian Brothers High School, and was signed to a Chicago White Sox baseball
contract in 1949. He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard during the Korean War,
and was honorably discharged in 1954. He played baseball with the San Francisco
Seals, and Oakland Oaks before going to the Chicago White Sox.
In later years Joe worked for the California State Auto Assn., and was the manager of offices in Yreka, Walnut Creek, Petaluma, Hayward, San Jose, and became a Regional Manager. He was with the CSAA for 41 years, and lived in San Ramon for 44 years. He had many hobbies, loved all sports-- especially playing golf, and watching Giants & A's baseball. Joe had a great sense of humor, and his smile and laugh would light up a room. He will be greatly missed by family and friends.
Military Memorial Services will be held on November 8, 2016, 1PM, at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, in Dixon, Ca. A reception for family and friends will be at Bud's Restaurant on S. 1st St., Dixon. Family requests that any donations be made to Hospice, or a charity of their choice.