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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Tom Veryzer, shortstop for Tigers and Indians, dies at 61

Former Tigers and Indians shortstop Tom Veryzer, who played in the big leages for 12 years, died Thursday at the age of 61, according to The Oakland Press.

Veryzer was drafted by the Tigers with the No. 11 overall pick in the 1971 MLB Draft and was the team’s starting shortstop from 1975 to 1977. Detroit traded him to the Indians that offseason to make room for Alan Trammell. He played for Cleveland until 1981 before ending his career with stints with the Mets (1982) and Cubs (1983-84).

He hit .241/.283/.294 with 14 homers in 996 MLB games.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 09, 2014 at 02:44 PM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, indians, mets, obituaries, tigers, tom veryzer

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   1. Spahn Insane Posted: July 09, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4747158)
I'll confess, he was one of my least favorite Cubs, but I personally witnessed his only home run as a Cub, off Atlee Hammaker (who was apparently still shellshocked after allowing a grand slam to Fred Lynn in the ASG the week before). RIP.
   2. Rennie's Tenet Posted: July 09, 2014 at 04:10 PM (#4747214)
Hero of one of my college roommates, who was also from Islip. Currently 141st all-time in games played at short, which is pretty good when you remember that goes back 139 years.
   3. Batman Posted: July 09, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4747292)
According to Topps, he was MVP of the Appalachian League in 1971, when he hit .225.
   4. zonk Posted: July 09, 2014 at 05:41 PM (#4747396)
Hmmm....

Is he the first of the 1984 Cubs to die?

I don't think any others have -- the oldest guys I remember from that team are all still around and they had a fair number of them (Bowa, Cey, Matthews, Davey Lopes).

I keep thinking I remember seeing a note on Richie Hebner some time back, but then I remember the interesting thing about him is that he used to be a gravedigger in the offseason so I think that's what the malted hops and barley spits out.

   5. What's the realistic upside, RMc? Posted: July 09, 2014 at 05:41 PM (#4747397)
One of my favourite players as a little kid, pre-Trammell and Whitaker. RIP.

Also, one of his Appy League teammates was Phil Mankowski, who also made it to the majors but is probably best known for taking a batted ball to the yarbles in The Natural.
   6. esseff Posted: July 09, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4747408)
Forever bound in my mind with Duane Kuiper.
   7. Spahn Insane Posted: July 09, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4747409)
(Bowa, Cey, Matthews, Davey Lopes).

Hebner! Got a soft spot for him, since he lived in the same neighborhood in Pittsburgh my parents did shortly before I was born. Wasn't even a very nice neighborhood, but player salaries then weren't what they are now (hell, Hebner famously dug graves as an offseason gig).

EDIT: Clearly, I should've read the rest of zonk's comment before responding.
   8. zonk Posted: July 09, 2014 at 06:00 PM (#4747423)
Huh... Nearly as I can tell, he is... In fact, just going through the coaches and front office - I think Don Zimmer was the first if you expand it to coaching staff and front office. Even Yosh Kawano, the clubhouse man, is still alive if wikipedia is right and who was already nearing retirement in '84 is still around.

   9. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 09, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4747433)
Indeed, this "Yosh Kawano" character does have a wikipedia page.
   10. Canker Soriano Posted: July 09, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4747436)
And Harry Caray of course.

I was surprised to learn both Dallas Green and Jim Frey are still around.

Yosh Kawano's got to be about 190 years old at this point. He was ancient back then.

What about Marla, the ball girl who ended up in Playboy?
   11. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: July 09, 2014 at 06:25 PM (#4747442)
Without looking it up .......

He teamed with Duane Kuiper in Cleveland to form an all-time no-hit middle infield.

Alan Trammell & Lou Whitaker famously made their MLB debut in the same game. It was the second game of a doubleheader. I do believe that Veryzer was the starting shortstop in the first game of the doubleheader.
   12. zonk Posted: July 09, 2014 at 06:28 PM (#4747447)
Indeed, this "Yosh Kawano" character does have a wikipedia page.


He was the guy that got sent out to get Cindy Sandberg's gift baskets...
   13. Batman Posted: July 09, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4747497)
Until Veryzer, everybody who played for the Cubs between 1983 and 1990 was still alive. Larry Cox and Randy Stein from the 1982 team and Frank Castillo and Dave Smith from the 1991 team are dead. I keep forgetting Dave Smith died. Eight post-1990 Cubs are dead.
   14. BDC Posted: July 09, 2014 at 07:35 PM (#4747548)
I remember Veryzer better as a Tiger, a heck of a prospect who lost his job to some kid named Trammell. Neither the two shortstops nor Lou Whitaker is much older than I am. RIP, and condolences to his family: this departure is long before his time.
   15. Bunny Vincennes Posted: July 09, 2014 at 08:44 PM (#4747597)
Frank Castillo is dead? Really?
   16. Howie Menckel Posted: July 09, 2014 at 08:49 PM (#4747601)

If you're under 50, did you guess how to pronounce his name?

It was vir EYE zer

   17. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: July 10, 2014 at 12:59 AM (#4747693)
One of my favourite players as a little kid, pre-Trammell and Whitaker.


This.
   18. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 10, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4747800)
There's a nice story in Dan Epstein's book about baseball in 1976, where Mark Fidrych is talking to Veryzer about how great it is to see big crowds in Tiger Stadium. Veryzer says, "Well, they're not coming out to see Tommy Veryzer."
   19. Spahn Insane Posted: July 10, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4747862)
If you're under 50, did you guess how to pronounce his name?

It was vir EYE zer


I'm 42 and knew it, but I was a fan of the Cubs dating back to the 80s.
   20. The District Attorney Posted: July 10, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4747904)
   21. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 10, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4747923)
The other thing I remember about Veryzer was that he always had this long, stringy, awful, unkempt 70s-style hair.

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