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Thursday, December 01, 2022

Gaylord Perry, two-time Cy Young winner and master of the spitball, dies at 84

Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time Cy Young Award winner Gaylord Perry, a master of the spitball, died Thursday. He was 84.

Perry died at his home in Gaffney, South Carolina at about 5 a.m. Thursday of natural causes, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said. He did not provide additional details.

Perry pitched for eight major-league teams from 1962 until 1983. He won the Cy Young with Cleveland in 1972 and with San Diego in 1978 just after turning 40.

Perry was a five-time All-Star who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991.

He had a career record of 314-255, finished with 3,554 strikeouts and used a pitching style where he doctored baseballs or made batters believe he was doctoring them. His 1974 autobiography was titled “Me and the Spitter.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 01, 2022 at 10:46 AM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: gaylord perry, obituaries

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Dave Hillman, the oldest living Met, dead at 95

Dave Hillman, who pitched in 13 games for the 1962 Mets, died Sunday at 95. The right-hander, who was the oldest living Met, passed away from natural causes, the Bristol Herald Courier reported.

Hillman pitched in the majors from 1955-1962 with the Cubs, Red Sox, Reds and Mets. He was with the Mets from April to June, mainly as a reliever though he made one start for Casey Stengel’s historic team which would lose an MLB record 120 games.

“It was a joke – the ballplayers they had assembled,” Hillman told the Bristol Herald Courier in 2008. “It was all old players who were over the hill. There were one or two young pitchers that were good, but with the ballclub, they couldn’t get them a run.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 27, 2022 at 10:46 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dave hillman, obituaries

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Former Brewers outfielder Chuck Carr dies at age 55

Outfielder Chuck Carr, briefly a member of the Milwaukee Brewers in the late 1990s and author of a memorable quote in Brewers lore, has died at age 55 according to an announcement on Facebook, relayed by Miami Herald reporter Craig Mish among others.

The tribute from his family suggested Carr had been battling health issues….

Carr caught on with the Houston Astros and homered off John Smoltz in the seventh inning of Game 3 in the 1997 National League Division Series — the final at-bat of Carr’s career.

Carr finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1993 with the inaugural Marlins team after he was taken with the 14th pick of the expansion draft. He stole 58 bases to lead the league in 1993 and 32 the year after that.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 13, 2022 at 11:17 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: chuck carr, obituaries

Friday, October 14, 2022

Hall of Fame reliever, Cy Young Award winner Bruce Sutter dies at 69

Sutter, who is widely considered to be one of the first pitchers to throw a split-finger fastball, spent 12 seasons in Major League Baseball from 1976-1988.

Sutter made his debut with the Chicago Cubs and won the NL Cy Young award in 1979 after making 37 saves with 110 strikeouts on the year. He spent five seasons in Chicago before leaving for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1981.

He helped close out their World Series win in 1982 and ended Game 7 of that series with a strikeout to beat the Milwaukee Brewers. Sutter then finished his career with the Atlanta Braves, where he picked up his 300th career save.

The six-time All-Star was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 14, 2022 at 11:52 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: bruce sutter, obituaries

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Former Cubs lefthander Dick Ellsworth has died

Dick Ellsworth was a lefthanded pitcher who exhibited great promise for the Cubs in the early 1960s.

In 1963, he made 37 starts, went 22-10 (back when individual pitcher wins really meant something), posted a 2.11 ERA and led the major leagues in ERA+ at 167. Yes, better than Sandy Koufax of the pennant-winning Dodgers. Koufax won the NL MVP and the (then single) Cy Young Award, but there were those who favorably compared Ellsworth to Koufax. After he threw a one-hitter against the Phillies June 1, Edward Prell wrote in the Tribune:

Dick Ellsworth has been a magnificent pitcher all year. Today that elegant word was inadequate when the 23-year-old Cub lefty held the Phillies to one hit — a bunt — in a 2-0 victory. It was the finest performance of his budding career.

Ellsworth finished 19th in NL MVP voting that year, and his 10.2 bWAR season was a close second to Koufax’ 10.7. It remains to this day the second-best bWAR season by any Cubs pitcher (Pete Alexander, 11.9 in 1920 leads the list).

Injuries prevented Ellsworth from fulfilling that promising beginning, and eventually the Cubs traded him away.

Dick Ellsworth passed away Monday in his hometown of Fresno, California, aged 82.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 12, 2022 at 12:01 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: dick ellsworth, obituaries

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Hector Lopez, Who Broke a Baseball Color Barrier, Dies at 93

Hector Lopez, the first Black manager at the highest level of minor league baseball and one of the last living members of the early 1960s Yankees dynasty, who played in the team’s outfield alongside Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, died on Thursday in Hudson, Fla. He was 93.

His son Darrol Lopez said the cause of his death, in a hospital, was complications of lung cancer.

A native of Panama, Lopez was one of the first Black players for the Yankees. Appearing in five consecutive World Series, he was the very essence of a utility player, a capable nonstar who filled in as an infielder or an outfielder wherever there was a need. 
In the fifth and final game of the 1961 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds, he smashed a home run and a triple and drove in five runs in a 13-5 victory.

Lopez was released by the Yankees after the 1966 season, in which the team finished 10th and last, ending his 12-year playing career with a .269 average and 136 home runs. He played in the minor leagues for a couple of seasons, hoping to return to the majors. But instead, in 1969 he was named manager of the Buffalo Bisons, then the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Senators (now the Texas Rangers).

A New York Times headline read, “Hector Lopez Slides Safely Into Buffalo as First Negro Pro Baseball Pilot.” Lopez, lacking a star pedigree or much experience in coaching, was an unlikely trailblazer. George Vecsey, the longtime Times sports columnist, wrote that as an aging minor league player in Buffalo, Lopez was “a helpful senior citizen to Washington Senator farmhands” and got the job by being “in the right place at the right time and by wanting the job.”

“Good for Hector,” Elston Howard, the first Black Yankees player, said. “This is a good break for him.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 02, 2022 at 06:57 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: hector lopez, obituaries

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Los Angeles Dodgers great Maury Wills, NL MVP in 1962, dies at age 89

Maury Wills, who intimidated pitchers with his base-stealing prowess as a shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers on three World Series championship teams, has died. He was 89.

Wills died Monday night at home in Sedona, Arizona, the team said Tuesday after being informed by family members. No cause of death was given.

Wills played on World Series title teams in 1959, 1963 and 1965 during his first eight seasons with the Dodgers. He also played for Pittsburgh and Montreal before returning to the Dodgers from 1969 to 1972, when he retired.

During his 14-year career, Wills batted .281 with 2,134 hits and 586 stolen bases in 1,942 games.

He was the National League MVP in 1962, led the NL in stolen bases 1960-65, was a seven-time All-Star selection and won Gold Glove Awards in 1961 and 1962.

Wills had an ill-fated stint managing the Seattle Mariners from 1980 to 1981, going 26-56 with a winning percentage of .317.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2022 at 01:50 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: maury wills, obituaries

Friday, September 16, 2022

John Stearns, ex-Mets All-Star catcher, dead at 71

Former Mets catcher John Stearns died at the age of 71 on Thursday.

A four-time All-Star, Stearns played 10 MLB seasons, coming to the Mets in a 1975 in a six-player trade that send Tug McGraw to the Phillies.

No cause of death was immediately available, though he was battling prostate cancer.

“If the word is out that I’ve got cancer, and that people are concerned about me passing away right away, it’s incredibly amazing that they would reach out to me,” Stearns told The Denver Post in July. “And it gives me the incentive to fight even harder.”

Despite his condition, Stearns made an appearance at the Mets Old Timers’ Day in May.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 16, 2022 at 11:12 AM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: john stearns, mets, obituaries

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Former MLB pitcher-turned-Port Authority cop Anthony Varvaro killed on way to Manhattan’s 9/11 service

A former Major League Baseball pitcher who left the mound to become a Port Authority cop was killed in a wrong-way crash Sunday — while headed to work at Manhattan’s 9/11 service, cops and sources said.

Tragic Officer Anthony Varvaro, 37 — a Staten Island native who pitched mainly for the Atlanta Braves during his six-year MLB career — joined the Port Authority Police Department in 2016, starting out at the World Trade Center Command, according to American Police Beat magazine.

The married father of four eventually became an instructor at the department’s police academy, the mag said in February — and a Port Authority source told The Post on Sunday that Varvaro was headed to work at the commemoration of the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks at the World Trade Center when he was killed.

“He was a real sweetheart,” said a Staten Island baseball coach whose team had played against kids coached by Varvaro.

“He didn’t have an attitude. You would never know that he pitched in the Major Leagues,” the coach said of the cop.

The source said the cop helped children learn the game in his off time.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2022 at 05:59 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: anthony varvaro, obituaries

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

In Tribute: Local legend Pete Burnside was professional ballplayer, beloved New Trier educator and ‘invested, kind’ family man

Pete found a calling as a baseball player, earning plenty of success as a left-handed pitcher for New Trier High School. At 19 years old, he signed a professional baseball contract but, thanks to counsel from family friend Jules Herbuveaux, was allowed to attend Dartmouth College while playing baseball for the New York Giants organization in the summer months.

An Ivy League graduate, Pete then served with the U.S. Army while pitching for his base’s team, the Fort Leonard Wood Hilltoppers, who in 1953 won the National Baseball Congress championship.

Pete pitched professionally for 10 more years, including eight seasons in Major League Baseball with the Giants, Detroit Tigers, Washington Senators and Baltimore Orioles. He concluded his career with two seasons in Japan, where he pitched the Hanshin Tigers to a 6-3 victory in Game 5 of the Japan Championship Series — a set won in seven games by the Nankai Hawks.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 07, 2022 at 09:33 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, pete burnside

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Former Royals pitcher Mark Littell dies at the age of 69

He only gave up two home runs that 1976 season. The first came on July 10th to Pedro Garcia, a light-hitting second baseman for the Detroit Tigers. The second home run was one of the more infamous home runs in Royals history, the Chris Chambliss 9th inning ALCS walk-off.

I’d asked Mark once about that home run and he said, “I felt good coming out of the pen, but the fans started throwing crap on the field and by the time they got it all cleared off, I’d gotten a little chilly. I threw him (Chambliss) a high fastball and he went up and got it!” Video shows the pitch was high, probably a ball, but no matter. It sent the Yankees to the World Series. Littell, who never met a stranger, harbored no ill feelings about the home run. He gave it his best, as did Chambliss and that’s just how it turned out.

After the 1977 season, the Royals sent Littell and catcher Buck Martinez to St. Louis for their closer, Al Hrabosky. While Hrabosky struggled at times in Kansas City, Littell fit right in with the Cardinals, which were basically his hometown team. He had a stellar year in 1979, finishing 9-4 with 13 saves in 63 appearances and a 2.19 ERA. On August 10th, 1981, Pete Rose singled off Mark for his 3,631st career hit, which was good for the National League record.

Mark had a great sense of humor, he will be missed. RIP.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 06, 2022 at 12:24 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: mark littell, obituaries

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Former GM Lee Thomas, architect of ‘93 Phils, dies at 86

When the Phillies hired Lee Thomas on June 21, 1988, the new general manager faced a daunting task.

The team he was taking over was well on its way to losing 96 games. He would be working with a constricted payroll. And he was the third person to hold the position in less than a year. His immediate predecessor, Woody Woodward, had been fired two weeks earlier after less than nine months on the job.

Thomas, who passed away after a long illness Wednesday in his adopted hometown of St. Louis at the age of 86, was unfazed. He began revamping the roster through a series of shrewd moves.

It all came together in 1993 when the Phils went from worst to first, going nearly wire-to-wire to win the National League East and upsetting the heavily favored Braves in the NLCS before falling to the Blue Jays in the World Series.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 31, 2022 at 04:39 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: lee thomas, obituaries, phillies

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

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Don Carter, USBC and PBA Hall of Famer, dies at age 85

Farewell to “The Babe Ruth of Bowling”...

Don Carter, one of the most prominent and successful players in the sport of bowling, died at his home in Miami on Thursday night. Carter, who had recently been hospitalized with pneumonia complicated by emphysema, was 85.

...Born in St. Louis, Mo., on July 29, 1926, Carter was more interested in baseball and football while in high school. After graduation, he served two years in the Navy before signing a baseball contract with the Philadelphia Athletics. He was sent to the minor league team in North Carolina.

In a Bowlers Journal interview in 1970, Carter said he hit .304 and did pitch some games, but the team played 128 games in 112 days and he lost 30 pounds from his 180-pound frame.

“I got $150 a month plus room and board,” Carter recalled. “Riding that bus all over the countryside to games was too much. I quit after a season.”

That would lead Carter back home to St. Louis and the start of his career in bowling.

Minor league stats

Repoz Posted: January 07, 2012 at 08:26 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Former Major Leaguer Howie Koplitz passes away at 73

What is there to say…

Howie Koplitz

Repoz Posted: January 05, 2012 at 05:43 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, obituaries, tigers

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Andy Carey, helped preserve Larsen’s perfecto, dies

RIP,

Andy Carey, a former Yankees third baseman who helped preserve Don Larsen’s 1956 perfect game, passed away on Dec. 15 in Costa Mesa, Calif., his family announced. He was 80.

A career .260 hitter, Carey played in 11 Major League seasons from 1952-62, beginning with the Yankees at age 20 in ‘52 and spending nine seasons wearing pinstripes.

Born on Oct. 18, 1931, in Oakland, Calif., Carey signed with the Yankees after spending a summer playing semi-pro ball in Weiser, Idaho. As New York’s everyday third baseman in ‘55, Carey led the league with 11 triples and was known as a solid defender and clutch hitter.

Carey played on four Yankees World Series teams, winning rings with the 1956 and ‘58 squads. He is remembered as playing a key role in Larsen’s Oct. 8, 1956, perfecto against the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium.

Repoz Posted: January 04, 2012 at 02:58 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, obituaries, royals, white sox, yankees

Monday, January 02, 2012

Ted Beard, 90. Played for Pirates, White Sox.

Ted Beard 90, professional baseball player and WWII veteran, passed away December 30, 2011 with his family by his side. Ted, voted most popular player for the Indianapolis Indians in 1948 and 1951, began his professional career in 1941. His career was interrupted to serve in the Pacific Theatre in WWII.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/beardte01.shtml.

 

Repoz Posted: January 02, 2012 at 10:32 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries

Friday, December 30, 2011

St. Louisian Don Mueller, former big-league star, dies

Don Mueller...

St. Louis native Don Mueller, who led the majors in hits in 1954 and roamed the outfield with Willie Mays of the New York Giants, died on Wednesday. He was 84.

Mueller, who played at CBC, was signed by the Giants in 1944 and made his big-league debut four years later.

At age 23, he became a starter for the Giants in right field and hit .291 in his first full season.

...A career .296 hitter, Mueller became known as “Mandrake the Magician.” He finished his career with two seasons with the White Sox in 1958 and 59.

 

Repoz Posted: December 30, 2011 at 12:53 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, obituaries, white sox

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-28-2011

Milwaukee Journal, December 28. 1911:

[Red Sox manager] Jake Stahl says that he is sure he has no more dead players on his list. Since he discovered Lockwood, the dead Vancouver man on the list, he has been over it very carefully.

Cross him off, then.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 28, 2011 at 02:14 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, obituaries

Thursday, December 22, 2011

CBC: Alberta shooting victim’s baseball-themed funeral draws 600

Farewell to the ballplayers…

The mother of Mitch MacLean — a ballplayer from P.E.I. who was killed in an Alberta murder-suicide last week — read her poem called Last Time at the Plate during her son’s funeral that was attended by hundreds.

Cars were lined up along the road by Winsloe United Church, just north of Charlottetown, for the service. An overflow room was set up for those who could not get one of the 220 seats in the chapel. An estimated 600 attended.

A former girlfriend of MacLean’s, Melia Thompson, said after the service it was “exactly what Mitch would’ve wanted.”

MacLean was a promising young baseball player, and the sport played a prominent part in the service.

The poem read by his mother was one she had written herself. His casket left the church to the tune of Centerfield by John Fogerty.

 

Repoz Posted: December 22, 2011 at 06:10 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Deadspin: Legendary Columnist Bill Conlin Resigns Over Forthcoming Philly Inquirer Bombshell

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s top investigative reporter, Nancy Phillips, has written a story containing what we’re told are allegations of child molestation against sportswriter Bill Conlin, a longtime columnist at the rival Daily News. Conlin resigned just moments ago, according to a source at the Daily News.

Conlin, who turns 78 this May, won the Ford C. Frick Award last May. The story supposedly will drop soon (the newspapers publish under a joint-operating agreement, sharing some resources and a website but otherwise competing for the same readers). Conlin has hired an attorney to defend himself against the piece. We’ll have more details on this. For now, we can tell you that Conlin is at his condo in Largo, Fla.

And Bill Conlin’s articles on BTF...

Tripon Posted: December 20, 2011 at 06:47 PM | 283 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, media, obituaries, phillies, rumors, special topics

Friday, November 25, 2011

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-25-2011

Milwaukee Journal, November 25, 1944:

Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, commissioner of baseball since 1921, died at St. Luke’s hospital Saturday morning at 5:35.  He was 78 years old.
...

Landis, a gruff speaking old man with shaggy white hair, battered hat and keen wit, became a legend in his lifetime.  He was noted for his fairness and as a man who always gave the underdog a break.

Unless they had too much melanin.  In which case they were screwed.

In all seriousness, though, the linked article is an excellent obituary.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 25, 2011 at 09:45 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, obituaries

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On The Passing Of Greg Halman

I don’t even feel right referring to Greg as a baseball player. Obviously he was a baseball player, and that was how we knew him, but I don’t feel right giving him that label, that identity. Still, while “baseball player” wasn’t Greg Halman’s full identity, it was a part of it, so it’s worth noting how much Halman achieved, and what he came to represent. He wasn’t just a Mariners prospect on the brink of a big league career. He was the first Dutch-born, Dutch-raised, and Dutch-developed player in Major League history, and from the bottom of Geoff Baker’s piece:

[Coach] Chlup said Halman was surprised that so many fans in the Czech Republic seemed to know who he was. Other than [Prince] Fielder, Chlup said, Halman got the loudest reception of any player introduced to the crowds.

“He knew that, for a lot of Dutch kids, he was the one who got it done.”

Halman was one of the faces of European baseball. In one sense, he was trying to make it. In another sense, he already had…

Greg Halman was born in Haarlem in 1987. He learned four languages. He graduated from college. He signed with the Seattle Mariners in 2004. He represented his country in 2009. He made the Major Leagues in 2010. He hit his first Major League home run in 2011. All the while he comported himself with an eagerness and a joie de vivre sufficient for envy. This is a paragraph summary of Greg Halman’s life, and I hate it. I hate that it’s insultingly brief, and I hate that it had to be written.

The District Attorney Posted: November 23, 2011 at 01:51 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, obituaries

Monday, November 21, 2011

Daily Mail: Seattle Mariners’ Halman [fatally] stabbed

Ugh.  Just ugh.

Seattle Mariners baseball star Gregory Halman has been killed in a stabbing in Rotterdam.

Dutch national TV station NOS-TV said the family of Halman, 24, had confirmed his death.

Yes, we can all agree that he’s not a star.  That makes this no less horrific.  RIP, Greg.

Update: Reuters reports Halman’s brother has been arrested in connection with the stabbing.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 21, 2011 at 11:39 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: international, mariners, obituaries

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