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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Former major leaguer Champ Summers dies in Florida

RIP, Champ Summers…

Former Major League Baseball player John “Champ’’ Summers has died in north Florida. He was 66.

Summers’ wife, Joy, says he passed away Thursday after a 2 1/2-year battle with kidney cancer.

Starting in 1974, Summers played 10 seasons in the majors for six different teams.

His wife said Thursday “his favorite team was Detroit. He stayed there the longest, and he loved the fans.’‘

Repoz Posted: October 11, 2012 at 07:40 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: obit

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   1. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: October 11, 2012 at 08:17 PM (#4264851)
He had a great baseball name. His last appearance was in the 1984 World Series, pinch hitting for Alan Wiggins.
   2. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: October 11, 2012 at 08:30 PM (#4264873)
Jeeze. First Beano Cook, now Champ Summers. Who's next, Cornbread Maxwell?
   3. T.J. Posted: October 11, 2012 at 08:40 PM (#4264888)
When I used to visit the Upper Peninsula with my grandparents in the summers of the late '70s and early '80s, I would listen to Ernie Harwell broadcast Tigers games on the radio. I was a Cubs fan first, but a Tigers fan second. Champ Summers, Milt Wilcox; I remember those teams fairly well.
   4. Bruce Markusen Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:10 PM (#4264948)
Yes, one of the great baseball names. When I first heard his name back in the mid-1970s, I thought, this is the name of a guy who will one day win the batting title.

He came up with those great A's teams of the early 70s and never really had a chance, stuck behind Rudi, North, Reggie and Claudell Washington. The A's traded him to the Cubs, but he never panned out as an everyday outfielder.

After being traded by Oakland, he was very critical of his A's teammates, saying that they were not very supportive of a young, struggling player. He didn't have very fond memories of the 1974 championship.
   5. asinwreck Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:20 PM (#4264968)
For absolutely no good reason, my dominant memory of Champ Summers is him struggling near the end of his career with the Giants. (Even though I saw him plenty of times with the Tigers.)
   6. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: October 12, 2012 at 12:09 AM (#4265598)
His 1979 APBA card was a thing of beauty.
   7. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:01 AM (#4265720)
He had a great baseball name.

Indeed. In fact, my fantasy baseball league has been named "Champs of Summer" since 1999. We'll miss you, Champ.
   8. xdog Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:32 AM (#4265767)
Champ played in the infamous Braves/Pads beanball game in 1984. I remember him trying to get in the Braves dugout and dismember Pascual Perez. Bob Horner saved Perez that day.

I haven't seen any mention of Summers' military service in Viet Nam.
   9. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:51 AM (#4265791)
I always got him confused with Tarzan Joe Wallis.
   10. Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:53 AM (#4265795)
After being traded by Oakland, he was very critical of his A's teammates, saying that they were not very supportive of a young, struggling player.


Well, he was a 28 year old making his major league debut on a team that had won two world series in a row, I imagine there wasn't a lot of room for slack there.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: October 12, 2012 at 09:22 AM (#4265824)
I haven't seen any mention of Summers' military service in Viet Nam.


If that Wikipedia entry is accurate, that was a hell of a ride to the big leagues for Champ. I don't remember ever hearing any of that.

RIP.

   12. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:08 AM (#4265876)
The death of a guy named Champ whose widow is named Joy. We haven't seen a story like this since Moose and Cookie Skowron.
   13. I Am Not a Number Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4265878)
His 1979 APBA card was a thing of beauty.

I was going to say the exact same thing about his Strat-O-Matic card. I guess I just did.

At ages 33 and 34 he was quite a hitter for the Tigers. He did little before that and little after. Very odd little burst of greatness.

And what a perfect baseball name.
   14. xdog Posted: October 12, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4265984)
bbref gives his full name as John Junior Summers.

If that Wikipedia entry is accurate

It's correct. Read this appreciation: http://www.bnd.com/2012/10/11/2357039/former-metro-east-standout-and.html

Great pic of Champ and Danny Cox.
   15. Tom (and his broom) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4265987)
Well, he was a 28 year old making his major league debut on a team that had won two world series in a row, I imagine there wasn't a lot of room for slack there.


I imagine there were quite a few older players in the minors and having rookie seasons around that time, competition with the South East Asian League.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: October 12, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4266037)
It's correct. Read this appreciation: link here, if anyone else wants to read it.


Thanks xdog.

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