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Obituaries Newsbeat

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Blue Jays legend Fernandez dies at 57

The baseball world lost a legend Saturday night.

Long-time Toronto Blue Jays infielder Tony Fernandez has died at age 57.

Earlier this month, Fernandez was in critical condition with a kidney disease. He had been battling kidney issues for several years. He was first hospitalized with polycystic kidney disease in 2017.

The Mayo Clinic’s website describes the disease as an inherited disorder where cyst clusters cause the kidneys to enlarge and lose function over time.

 

QLE Posted: February 16, 2020 at 12:30 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, rip, tony fernandez

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Gil Coan, original member of the 1954 Baltimore Orioles, dies at 97

Gil Coan, an original member of the 1954 Baltimore Orioles who recorded the team’s first hit, died Tuesday afternoon at the age of 97.

Coan was Major League Baseball’s third oldest living player. He played his best seasons on the Washington Senators, batting .303 in back-to-back seasons from 1950-1951.

Born in Monroe, North Carolina, Coan became a Brevard College baseball legend by the time he graduated in 1942. He was named “Minor League Player of the Year” by The Sporting News before playing on four teams in 11 seasons in the major leagues from 1946-1956.

After retiring from baseball at the age of 34, Coan returned to Brevard to run the Brevard Insurance Agency until his retirement in 1986.

 

QLE Posted: February 09, 2020 at 01:34 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: gil coan, obituaries, rip

Former Bassick, Ravens, MLB standout Angel Echevarria dies at 48

Angel Echevarria, the former Bassick High School baseball star who went on to play eight years in the major leagues, died Friday at Bridgeport Hospital. He was 48.

Echevarria, who ran his own business, Simply Baseball, out of The Factory in Norwalk, often gave free clinics to the youth of his native Bridgeport, where he was born in 1971 and still lived.

He was not feeling well this past week, and Friday fell and hit his head, according to his girlfriend of five years, Jazmine Cox. His cause of death was unknown according to Cox, who said Echevarria called her Friday after his fall in his Bridgeport home.

“He was caring and generous and loved working with children,” said Cox, who met Echevarria when the two worked at The Factory (formerly The Batter’s Box) in Norwalk. “He was always doing free clinics. He loved Bridgeport. Everyone will say he had a kind word for everyone. He was so giving, so generous, so full of life. He always wanted to give back. He would always say he grew up here, that Bridgeport made him who he was, and he was not going to leave.

 

QLE Posted: February 09, 2020 at 12:33 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: angel echevarria, obituaries, rip

Saturday, February 08, 2020

In remembrance of ‘The Boys of Summer’ author Roger Kahn, who found beauty in the stories of underdo

In this house, I have three different hardback copies of Roger Kahn’s “The Boys of Summer.” I also have one on my Kindle and one in my iBooks collection. And yet, not more than three or four weeks ago, I was in a used bookstore, and I saw a paperback copy of the book, and I thought to myself: “I should probably buy that.” And so I did.

I simply need that book around me at all times.

Roger Kahn died Thursday. He was 92. I never met him. I got a note from him once, a nice note, and as I wrote on Twitter, it was like getting a message from Olympus. A few years later, his book publisher, Mark Weinstein, asked me to write a blurb for Roger’s last book, “Rickey & Robinson: The True, Untold Story of the Integration of Baseball.” It was like having Julius Erving ask me to endorse one of his dunks.

This is how I began that blurb:

“Roger Kahn’s classic, ‘The Boys of Summer,’ changed my life — that and ‘Catcher in the Rye’ were the two books that made me dream of becoming a writer.”

 

QLE Posted: February 08, 2020 at 01:08 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, rip, roger kahn, sportswriting

Monday, February 03, 2020

Nationals announce death of Phil Rizzo, Mike Rizzo’s father

Phil Rizzo, the father of Nationals President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo, has died, the team announced Saturday. He was 90 years old.

Phil was a senior advisor for his son in the Nationals’ front office. He played in the minor-leagues during the 1950s before hanging up the cleats and becoming a scout. A scout for over 40 years, Phil worked for nine different teams including both the Arizona Diamondbacks (1999-2005) and Nationals (2009-2020), both of which also employed his son at the time.

He was an inaugural member of the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame, having been enshrined in 2008. Phil is credited with being the first scout to file a report on Kentucky standout Brandon Webb, who won the 2006 NL Cy Young Award in Arizona, and signing players such as Bob Wickman, Mike Matheny and Dick Schofield.

 

QLE Posted: February 03, 2020 at 05:49 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, phil rizzo, rip

Friday, January 31, 2020

Late Cubs fan has one last wish: Donate to ‘impoverished’ Ricketts family

Joanne DeVrieze lived to the ripe age of 95, raised five children, enjoyed the company of nine grandkids and was a great-grandmother of 16. She passed away Jan. 19, and the Cubs fan had one final request — aid the pockets of her team’s owners.

“Donations in Joanne’s memory may be directed toward the impoverished Ricketts family of Chicago, Illinois, for purposes of assembling a near-Major League-caliber bullpen,” her obituary reads, “or to be dispersed per family wishes.”

Talk about shots fired from beyond the grave.

Someone after our hearts, it appears.

 

QLE Posted: January 31, 2020 at 12:35 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: dollah dollah bills, y'all, fans, obituaries, ricketts

Monday, January 27, 2020

Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli died in Kobe helicopter crash

A single bouquet of flowers sat on home plate as dozens of Orange Coast College former and current baseball players and coaches, and their family members and friends filed into Wendell Pickens Field on the school’s Costa Mesa campus Sunday.

Under ominous gray skies, with an early afternoon chill in the air, they hugged each other tightly, cried on each others’ shoulders and prayed together as they tried to come to grips with the tragedy that claimed their baseball coach Sunday morning.

John Altobelli, 56, who guided the Pirates to four California community college state championships and racked up more than 700 victories in 27 seasons at Orange Coast, was among the nine victims in the helicopter crash that killed former Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

...

Altobelli was named national coach of the year by the American Baseball Coaches Association in 2019 and Orange Coast won state titles in 2019, 2015, 2014 and 2009. Yet what brought him the most joy, Johnson said, was seeing his players move on to Division I programs. Approximately 10 Pirates off last year’s state championship team received scholarships to four-year schools.

 

QLE Posted: January 27, 2020 at 12:23 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: college baseball, john altobelli, obituaries, rip

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Tigers PA announcer Jay Allen dies after cancer fight

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Tigers said Jay Allen, the team’s public address announcer, has died.

“Everyone admired Jay’s faith, determination and positive mindset during his fight with cancer,” the team said in a statement Friday. “His vocal passion for the Tigers and sports across the state of Michigan endeared him to millions of fans, and his impact will never be forgotten.”

Allen joined the Tigers as Comerica Park’s public address announcer last year. His experience also included minor league baseball, arena football and high school sports.

 

QLE Posted: January 25, 2020 at 12:55 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jay allen, obituaries, rip, tigers

Saturday, January 18, 2020

David Glass, former owner of the Kansas City Royals, has died, team says

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—David Glass, the former owner of the Kansas City Royals died last week, the team confirmed Friday. He was 84 years old.

Glass purchased the Royals in 2000 for $96 million and owned the team for 20 seasons. Before buying the team, Glass was a former president and CEO of Wal-Mart from 1988 to 2000.

Under Glass’s care, the Royals reached the World Series for the first time in 2014, losing in seven riveting games to the San Francisco Giants. They bounced back the next year to win another American League pennant and beat the New York Mets in the 2015 World Series.

Last November, Glass sold the team to local businessman John Sherman and a team of other investors.

 

QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 12:36 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: david glass, obituaries, rip, royals

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Nationals minor league prospect Fausto Segura dies in motorcycle accident in Dominican Republic

Washington Nationals minor league pitcher Fausto Segura died in motorcycle accident in the Dominican Republic on Sunday, the team announced in a statement Monday.

“He was beloved by his teammates, coaches, coordinators and everyone he came in contact with throughout our organization,” the Nationals said.

The 23-year-old signed with the Nationals in July of 2017. Last season he played for the Auburn Doubledays in Class low-A where he posted a 3.21 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 17 appearances. He went 4-6 with a 3.88 ERA in 32 games as a professional, also playing in the Dominican Summer League (2017) and Gulf Coast League (2018).

 

QLE Posted: January 14, 2020 at 12:40 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: fausto segura, obituaries, rip

Saturday, January 11, 2020

George Nicolau dies at 94, arbitrator in MLB collusion cases

NEW YORK (AP) — George Nicolau, who ruled against baseball owners in two collusion cases and served as president of the National Academy of Arbitrators, has died. He was 94.

Nicolau died Jan. 2 at Lenox Hill Hospital, Gene Orza, the former chief operating officer of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said Friday.

Nicolau took over as the independent chairman of Major League Baseball’s arbitration panel in 1986 after owners fired Thomas Roberts, who ruled teams acted in concert against free agents after the 1985 season. Nicolau decided teams acted in concert against free agents after the 1986 and 1987 seasons. The cases were settled in 1990 when management agreed with the players’ union to pay those players affected $280 million.

In another notable decision, Nicolau decided in 1987 to cut short a season-long suspension of free agent pitcher LaMarr Hoyt to 60 days. Hoyt had been penalized for his involvement in three illegal drug incidents during 1986.

 

QLE Posted: January 11, 2020 at 12:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: arbitration, george nicolau, obituaries, rip

Hal Smith, author of his own huge home run in 1960, dies

Bill Mazeroski has always balked when asked if he’d hit the biggest home run in baseball history.

“Heck,” Maz would respond anytime I’d bring this up in Bradenton, “I didn’t even hit the biggest homer in that game”

Hal Smith, whose three-run home run for the Pirates in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series against the Yankees would be overshadowed an inning later by Maz’s legendary shot, died Thursday at age 89 in Columbus, Texas, a small town near Houston.

And yes, it was Mr. Smith’s home run that set the stage and, very nearly, stole it, on that magical fall day at Forbes Field half a century ago.

 

 

QLE Posted: January 11, 2020 at 12:11 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: hal smith, obituaries, pirates, rip, world series

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Don Larsen, who pitched only perfect game in World Series history, dies at 90

By his own admission, Don Larsen was a most imperfect fellow and therefore about the unlikeliest man to ever pitch the only perfect game in World Series history. But pitch it he did, on October 8, 1956, a 97-pitch, 2-0 gem in Game 5 that gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead in the Series against the Dodgers and set them up for winning their sixth world championship in eight years under manager Casey Stengel.

Larsen, 90, died Wednesday in hospice in Hayden, Idaho, of esophageal cancer, a party guy to the end who achieved baseball immortality that one sun-splashed autumn afternoon at Yankee Stadium despite an otherwise mediocre 81-91 pitching career with seven different major league teams from 1953-67. As it was, Larsen didn’t even think he was getting the ball that day after having been lifted by Stengel in the second inning of Game 2 of the Series because of control problems. He had given up only one hit in that game and was leading 6-1, but he’d walked four batters and the Yankees went on to lose, 13-8. Afterward, Larsen fumed to reporters: “I don’t give a damn if I ever pitch another game for the Yankees or Stengel again! I go out there and break my neck? For what? He had no business taking me out of there! That’s the last time I’ll get to bed early. I’m gonna start enjoying life again.”

Nevertheless, Stengel, who shrugged off Larsen’s diatribe, opted to give the big righthander — whose Yankee teammates dubbed “Gooney Bird” because of his flaky nature — a second chance three days later in Game 5, passing up 18-game winner Johnny Kucks (who went on to pitch the 9-0 Game 7 clincher). Whether it was just hunch on the part of Stengel — who secretly had a fondness for Larsen because of his own penchant for late-night imbibing — the prodigal pitcher vowed to make good for his manager. “I’ll show ‘em all,” he said when Stengel announced the day before Larsen would be starting Game 5. “Don’t be surprised if I pitch a no-hitter too.”

It was an oft-handed boast made jokingly to a handful of reporters, but one that Larsen more than made good on. Reverting to a “no-wind-up” delivery he had fashioned during the ’56 season (in which he’d been 11-5 as a starter and long reliever), he baffled the Dodgers all day and out-dueled veteran Sal Maglie, 2-0, striking out seven. About the only hard-hit ball the Dodgers had in the game was Gil Hodges’ one-out fly to deep left center in the fifth inning on which Mickey Mantle made a running, one-hand catch. Indeed, Larsen went to three balls on only one batter — Pee Wee Reese in the first — and when he got veteran pinch hitter Dale Mitchell on a half-swing third strike to end the game, Yankee catcher Yogi Berra rushed out from behind the plate and jumped into his arms in what became an iconic picture.

 

QLE Posted: January 01, 2020 at 11:00 PM | 76 comment(s)
  Beats: don larsen, obituaries, rip

Monday, November 25, 2019

Report: 21-year-old Korean league pitcher dies after falling off roof of building

Tragedy has reportedly hit South Korea’s KBO League, as Hanwha Eagles pitcher Kim Sung-hoon died early Saturday morning after falling off the roof of a building in the city of Gwangju, according to the Yonhap News Agency. He was 21 years old.

The deadly fall was reportedly from the roof of a nine-story building onto a seventh-story balcony. Kim was immediately sent to the hospital, but was pronounced dead upon arrival, according to police.

Police say no foul play is suspected after analyzing surveillance footage, saying the pitcher apparently lost his footing.

 

QLE Posted: November 25, 2019 at 01:55 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: kim sung-hoon, korean baseball, obituaries, rip

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Twins minor-leaguer Ryan Costello found dead in New Zealand hotel room

Minnesota Twins minor-league player Ryan Costello was found dead in his hotel room in New Zealand early Monday. Costello was set to play in the Australian Baseball League this offseason and an announcement was made by his team, the Auckland Tuatara. The 23-year-old was found in his hotel room after he failed to show up for a workout on Monday.

“The Tuatara would like to express their deepest condolences to Ryan’s family back home in the United States and to the whole Minnesota Twins organization,” the club said in a statement. “Support is being offered to the Tuatara players, who are naturally devastated at the moment.”

The Tuatara and the ABL both said that initial indications suggest Costello died of natural causes, per MiLB.com.

“We are saddened to learn of the untimely passing of Ryan Costello,” the Twins said in a statement. “The entire Twins organization sends our most sincere condolences to Ryan’s family, friends, coaches and teammates.”

 

QLE Posted: November 20, 2019 at 12:48 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, rip, ryan costello

Sunday, November 17, 2019

‘Grace, dignity and strength’: Pittsburghers mourn death of Vera Clemente, widow of Pirates legend

Vera Clemente, the Pirates’ matriarch and Roberto’s widow, enjoyed what was surely an emotional and long-awaited reunion with her husband on Saturday.

After she had been in “delicate health” since Nov. 1, Vera Clemente died of unknown causes in her native Puerto Rico, surrounded by family and friends. She was 81.

The loss was difficult to take for many Pirates fans, especially those who had idolized Roberto and, as a result, had gotten to know his wife; turns out empathy and philanthropy were not ideals only the baseball-playing half of the marriage carried.

Vera Clemente is survived by three sons: Roberto Clemente Jr., Luis Roberto Clemente and Roberto Enrique Clemente.

 

 

QLE Posted: November 17, 2019 at 12:10 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, rip, vera clemente

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Ron Fairly, who starred with USC, Dodgers and Angels, dies at 81

Ron Fairly, the reliable, red-haired outfielder and first baseman who spent more than five decades in baseball —21 years as a player, first with the Dodgers and lastly with the Angels, and 30 more as a broadcaster— died Wednesday in Indian Wells, Calif., after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 81.

A graduate of Long Beach Jordan High School and a former USC standout, Fairly played his first 11 ½ years (1958-69) in the big leagues with the Dodgers, helping the team to three World Series championships, and he closed his playing career with the Angels in 1978.

“The worst day in a baseball uniform,” Fairly wrote in a 2018 memoir that he co-authored with former Times sportswriter Steve Springer, “was better than the best day I could have had in any other career.”

Fairly turned down a basketball scholarship from UCLA’s John Wooden and went to USC instead. He played only one season with the Trojans, hitting .348 with a team-high nine homers and 67 RBIs as a sophomore center fielder to help USC win the 1958 national championship.

 

QLE Posted: October 31, 2019 at 12:47 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, rip, ron fairly

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Former Rangers President Mike Stone Dies At Age 80

Mike Stone, the former Texas Rangers president who later served as commissioner of the independent baseball Northern League, has died. He was 80.

The Rangers said Tuesday that Stone died Friday at his home in Ajijic, Mexico.

 

 

QLE Posted: October 30, 2019 at 12:46 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: independent leagues, mike stone, obituaries, rangers, rip

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Former MLB and two-time World Series umpire Chuck Meriwether dies at 63

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former major league umpire Chuck Meriwether, who was behind the plate when the Boston Red Sox ended their championship drought in 2004, died Saturday. He was 63.

Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement hours before Game 4 of the World Series. Meriwether had been ill with cancer and died at home in Nashville, Tennessee.

Meriwether called his first big league game in 1987, was promoted to the full-time American League staff in 1993 and worked for 18 years. He then became a major league umpire supervisor for nine years.

Meriwether had the plate in Game 4 when the Red Sox ended their 86-year title absence by beating St. Louis at Busch Stadium. He also did the 2007 World Series when Boston swept Colorado.

 

QLE Posted: October 27, 2019 at 12:05 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: chuck meriwether, obituaries, rip, umpire

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Former Pirate Bobby Del Greco remembered as ‘hero,’ ‘bigger than life’

About 30 years ago, Bobby Del Greco Jr. was working out at a health spa with a friend when he heard a disturbing report.

“It came over the news that former Pittsburgh Pirate Bob Del Greco was missing and, possibly, dead,” his son remembers.

(After he retired from baseball, Del Greco Sr. drove a newspaper delivery truck, a job he held part-time during his player career while raising eight children with his wife, Catherine.)

The news report was sparked after his truck was found tipped over in the river.

“I ran down and called him and he said, ‘Hello,’ Del Greco Jr. said.

“Dad? Is it you?

“Yeah.”

“What are you doing?”

“I’m eating fried bologna on pita bread, watching the Stooges.”

“Are you sure.”

“I’m positive.”


Monday, October 07, 2019

Andy Etchebarren, who led York Revolution to two Atlantic League titles, dies at age 76

Andy Etchebarren, the manager who led the York Revolution to two Atlantic League championships, has died.

Etchebarren was 76. He death was first announced by the Revs and Major League Baseball.

“It is with great sorrow that we inform our fans of the passing of our beloved Andy Etchebarren,” the Revs posted on the team’s Twitter site on Saturday night. “Etch was the second manager in Revolution history and led the team to its first two (Atlantic League) championships. He will be missed by baseball fans everywhere.”

A former All-Star catcher with the Baltimore Orioles, Etchebarren became York’s manager during the 2009 season, replacing another ex-Orioles catcher, Chris Hoiles.

 

QLE Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:03 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: andy etchebarren, obituaries, rip

Friday, September 06, 2019

Chris Duncan dies at 38; helped 2006 Cards win World Series, became a hit on local sports radio

A slugger with a familiar last name who often powered through pain and lifted the Cardinals to a World Series championship in 2006 and then later had a second act as a candid sports pundit on St. Louis radio, Chris Duncan died Friday in Tucson, Ariz., after years of battling brain cancer. He was 38.

The son of former Cardinals pitching Dave Duncan, Chris reached the majors in 2005 and became a force in 2006, just as an injury-riddled Cardinals team started to flag. Duncan’s 22 home runs in his rookie season, 19 after the All-Star break, and his .977 OPS in that season’s second half helped carry an 83-win team that limped into the playoffs before finding its stride and winning the organization’s 10th World Series title. Duncan would play three more seasons with the Cardinals before being traded to Boston in 2009, though not one gleamed like the rookie year that ended with a ring.

“We wouldn’t be here without him,” manager Tony La Russa said at the time.

Duncan was first diagnosed in 2012 with glioblastoma, the same sinister brain cancer his mother Jeanine had, and after surgery Chris was able to make significant progress and return to work as a co-host for 101.1 FM/WXOS. In March 2018 he acknowledged, on air, that the tumor had come back. He had been hosting shows, prepping opinions, and keeping the tumor’s return quiet for several months. Duncan took a leave of absence and, in January, made his departure from the radio station permanent so that he could “focus on health.”

 

QLE Posted: September 06, 2019 at 11:30 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: chris duncan, obituaries, rip

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Former Cleveland Indians catcher Hal Naragon dies at 90

CLEVELAND — Former Cleveland Indians catcher Hal Naragon has died, the team announced Saturday morning. He was 90 years old.

“The Indians family is deeply saddened by the passing of Hal Naragon. He will be remembered as a true gentleman, a great teammate and coach. Hal put the ‘magic’ in Barberton,’” said Bob DiBiasio, Indians senior vice president of public affairs.

Naragon was born in Zanesville Ohio and went to high school in Barberton. He signed with the Indians in 1947 and made his debut in 1951. Later, he took a break from baseball to serve in the United States Marine Corps.

RIP.

QLE Posted: September 03, 2019 at 12:29 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: hal naragon, obituaries, rip

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rox sign Jaime Moyer to Minor League deal

Fun fact: When the Rockies came into existence, Jaime Moyer was in his eighth Major League season.

The Rockies’ search for a veteran for the starting rotation could take them to the ultimate veteran, 49-year-old left-hander Jamie Moyer.

Colorado and Moyer have agreed to a Minor League deal that includes an invitation to Spring Training, the club announced on Wednesday. The agreement is pending a physical.

Moyer underwent Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow in 2010 and didn’t pitch last season. The lefty worked as an analyst for ESPN in 2011 but stated that he intended to try to pitch again in ‘12.

Moyer went 9-9 with a 4.84 ERA for the Phillies in 2010.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 18, 2012 at 08:14 PM | 128 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, phillies, rockies

Former American League umpire Marty Springstead is dead at age 74

Marty Springstead, who at the age of 36 in 1973 became the youngest umpire crew chief in World Series history, has died. He was 74.

Major League Baseball said Wednesday that Springstead was found dead at his home in Florida on Tuesday night.

A native of Nyack, N.Y., Springstead was an American League umpire from 1966-85. Among his three World Series were 1978 and 1983, and he also was an umpire at the All-Star game in 1969, 1975 and 1982 and at five AL championship series.

After retiring from the field, he became the AL’s executive director of umpires, then worked as an umpire supervisor for MLB after umpire staffs from the leagues merged.

He retired from his management position before the 2010 season.

“For a quarter-century, Marty mentored a new generation of our umpires, not only in the major leagues but around the world,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “Marty was an avid teacher, a great storyteller and a friend to countless people around our game. Like so many of my colleagues, I always appreciated his wonderful sense of humor and the pride he had for his profession.”

Thanks to Rod Nelson.

Repoz Posted: January 18, 2012 at 04:09 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: history, obituaries

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