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Obituaries Newsbeat

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Ex-Brooklyn Dodgers catcher, New York Mets coach Joe Pignatano dies at 92

The New York Mets said Pignatano died in Naples, Florida, at a nursing home. He had been suffering from dementia.

Pignatano had been the last living coach from the 1969 Mets, who made a remarkable run under manager Gil Hodges to reach the World Series and then startled Baltimore and the baseball world for their first championship.

He remained as their bullpen coach through 1981.

“To me, he was Uncle Joe. He loved the city and loved talking about his days with the Dodgers and with Gil. He was a baseball lifer,” former Mets star Lee Mazzilli said.

Pignatano made his major league debut with Brooklyn in 1957. On Sept. 24, he took over for future Hall of Famer Roy Campanella and caught the final five innings in a 2-0 win over Pittsburgh. It was the Dodgers’ last home game before bolting Brooklyn for the West Coast.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 24, 2022 at 09:50 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: joe pignatano, obituaries

Friday, May 20, 2022

Roger Angell, Who Wrote About Baseball With Passion, Dies at 101

Roger Angell, the elegant and thoughtful baseball writer who was widely considered among the best America has produced, died on Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 101.

The cause was congestive heart failure, his wife, Margaret Moorman, said.

Mr. Angell’s voice was original because he wrote more like a fan than a sports journalist, loading his articles with inventive imagery.

The Boston Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk came out of his crouch, Mr. Angell wrote, like “an aluminum extension ladder stretching for the house eaves.” The Baltimore Oriole relief pitcher Dick Hall pitched “with an awkward, sidewise motion that suggests a man feeling under his bed for a lost collar stud.” Mr. Angell (pronounced angel) described Willie Mays chasing down a ball hit to deep center field as “running so hard and so far that the ball itself seems to stop in the air and wait for him.”

The baseball season didn’t seem complete until, as he did late each fall, Mr. Angell wrapped up its multiple meanings in a long New Yorker article. Many of his pieces were collected in books, among them “Late Innings” (1982) and “Once More Around the Park” (1991).

But he wrote not just about teams and the games they played. He also considered what it meant to be a fan.

“It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitative as a professional sports team,” he wrote in his book “Five Seasons” (1977). “What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring — caring deeply and passionately, really caring — which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 20, 2022 at 05:00 PM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, roger angell, sportswriters

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Ex-Mets and Phillies pitcher dies at 57, joining 5 other ex-Phillies to die of brain cancer recently

Former Mets prospect and pitcher David West, who also pitched for the Phillies, has died of brain cancer at 57 , the Phillies announced on Saturday.

West was a fourth-round pick of the Mets in the 1983 MLB Draft, and he pitched two seasons for them, before spending four seasons with the Minnesota Twins, including 1991, when they won the World Series.

West was traded to the Phillies on Dec. 5, 1992, spent four seasons in Philadelphia, then finished his career with the Boston Red Sox in 1998. He pitched in 1997 with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan.

With the Phillies in 1993-96, West, a member of the 1993 National League championship team, made 122 appearances, mostly out of the bullpen. He had a 15-18 record and a 3.50 earned run average with the Phillies, and compiled a 31-38 record and a 4.66 ERA in 202 games over his 10-year MLB career.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, West is the sixth former Phillies player to die of brain cancer since 2003, following Ken Brett (2003), Tug McGraw (2004), Johnny Oates (2004), John Vukovich (2007), and Darren Daulton (2017).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 15, 2022 at 02:36 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: brain cancer, david west, obituaries, phillies

Friday, April 08, 2022

Former Yankees catcher John Ellis dead at 73

John Ellis, who played with the Yankees from 1969-1972, died Tuesday at 73 after suffering a recurrence of cancer.

The first baseman and catcher, who was from New London, Conn., also played with the Indians and Rangers during his 13-year career that began in 1969 and ended in 1981. In his later life, Ellis was best known for his charitable works in the fight against cancer.

The Yankees, who were impressed with Ellis’ right-handed power bat, signed him as an undrafted free agent in 1969, and he was called up from the Bombers at age 20. He made an immediate impact in his first game on May 17, hitting an inside-the-park home run against the Angels into left-center field, the original “Death Valley” at the old Yankee Stadium.

“I remember when he hit his inside-the-park home run,” Ron Blomberg, Ellis’ teammate from 1969-72, told the Hartford Courant. “Being 6-3, weighing 225 pounds, being a linebacker [in high school] and being a moose, you could see him running. He was a great athlete. He always had tons of fans come in from New London and Mystic and Groton.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 08, 2022 at 02:24 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries

Monday, April 04, 2022

Tommy Davis, 2-time batting champ with Dodgers, passes away

Two-time National League batting champion Tommy Davis, whose baseball path as a high school standout was altered by a phone call from Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, passed away Sunday night at the age of 83.

Davis, who was born March 21, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York, died in Phoenix with his family at his bedside.

Davis won back-to-back batting titles with the Dodgers in 1962 and 1963 and holds the single-season club records with 230 hits and 153 RBI.

The Brooklyn native was the first batting champion in the history of the Los Angeles franchise, winning consecutive titles in 1962 (.346) and 1963 (.326). His 230 hits and 153 RBI in 1962 remain L.A. single-season records. He was a member of three Dodger championship teams in 1959, 1963 and 1965.

Davis played 18 years in the Majors including eight years with the Dodgers from 1959-1966. He was a hit in the Dodgers’ new stadium in 1962 as he won the batting title with a .346 average along with 27 doubles, 27 homers, 153 RBIs. He led the league in hits and RBI.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 04, 2022 at 03:59 PM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, tommy davis

Thursday, March 17, 2022

World Series hero Ralph Terry dies in Larned

The baseball world is mourning the death of Ralph Terry who died Wednesday in Larned where he lived for many years following a successful major league baseball career with the New York Yankees, Kansas City A’s, Cleveland Indians and New York Mets.

He led the American League with 23 victories in 1962 and was the MVP of the 1962 World Series, according to the Yankee web site.

Terry is also best known for pitching the walk-off home run to Bill Mazeroski that won the 1960 World Series for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Terry was 86.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 17, 2022 at 09:51 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, ralph terry

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Julio Cruz Passes Away

Former Mariners and White Sox second baseman Julio Cruz passed away this week, per an announcement from the Mariners. Cruz, who followed a 10-year playing career with a lengthy career as a Spanish-language broadcaster for the Mariners, was 67 years of age. His family said via a statement that he “passed away peacefully” at home yesterday while “surrounded by his loving family.”

“The Seattle Mariners were saddened to learn of the passing of former Mariners second baseman and current broadcaster Julio Cruz,” the team said in its own statement announcing Cruz’s passing. “Our thoughts and sympathies are with his loved ones, including his wife, Mojgan, three sons, Austin, Alexander and Jourdan, and their families.”

A member of the Mariners’ inaugural roster in 1977, Cruz hit .256/.336/.296 as a rookie that season before stepping up and solidifying himself as a regular in 1978. While power was never his calling card, Cruz averaged 50 stolen bases per year from 1978-83, swiping bags at an outstanding 83.5% success rate along the way. He was the Mariners’ all-time leader in steals prior to being overtaken by future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki, and Cruz still ranks second all-time in franchise history in that regard.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 23, 2022 at 02:57 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: julio cruz, obituaries

Monday, February 14, 2022

Calvin Jones Passes Away

Former Mariners reliever Calvin Jones has passed away from cancer, as relayed by Bob Nightengale of USA Today on Twitter. He was 58 years old.

Jones was taken by the Mariners with the first overall selection in the 1984 January draft. (At the time, there was a second entry draft in January, largely for those who had graduated in the winter.) After initially working primarily as a starter in the minors, he made more appearances out of the bullpen as he climbed the minor league ladder. He made his MLB debut in 1991, throwing 46 1/3 innings over 27 relief appearances with the Mariners. He put up an ERA of 2.53 and recorded a couple of saves. In 1992, he logged 61 2/3 innings over 38 games with an ERA of 5.69. Although that was his the end of his time pitching in the majors, he continued playing for another decade, spending time in the minors, the CPBL, the Mexican League and The Atlantic League. He finished his MLB career with an ERA of 4.33 and 91 strikeouts over 108 innings in 65 games.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 14, 2022 at 11:19 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: calvin jones, obituaries

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Former MLB player Jeremy Giambi dies at 47

Former major league baseball player Jeremy Giambi died Wednesday at his parents’ home in Southern California, according to a statement from agent Joel Wolfe. He was 47.

No cause of death was immediately provided.

Giambi spent six seasons in the majors, including a stint in Oakland with his older brother, Jason. He also played for the Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox. He last played for Boston in 2003.

Giambi was part of the 2002 Athletics team whose season was chronicled by author Michael Lewis in the 2003 bestseller “Moneyball.” He was traded during that season to the Phillies for John Mabry.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 09, 2022 at 07:13 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: jeremy giambi, obituaries

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Gerald Williams, former Yankees outfielder, dead at 55

Gerald Williams, who had two stints with the Yankees, has died after a fight with cancer, Derek Jeter announced. He was 55.

Williams was drafted by the Yankees in 1987 and made his debut in pinstripes in 1992. The outfielder played five seasons in The Bronx before being traded to the Brewers during the 1996 season. Williams returned in 2001 and played parts of two more seasons for the Yankees.

“Gerald Williams passed away this morning after a battle with cancer,” Jeter said in a statement on The Players’ Tribune Twitter account.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 08, 2022 at 01:47 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: gerald williams, obituaries, yankees

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

David Green, ‘82 champ with Cards, dies at 61

David Green, once a promising outfield talent who received comparisons to Roberto Clemente and was a member of the World Series champion Cardinals in 1982, died recently at the age of 61, the club confirmed on Tuesday morning.

The Cardinals did not specify the cause of death, but media reports out of his native Nicaragua said that it was due to health complications stemming from recent heart attacks.

Green, signed as a 17-year-old by the Brewers in 1978, was traded to the Cardinals just two years later in the blockbuster deal that sent Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers and Ted Simmons, as well as future AL Cy Young Winner Pete Vuckovich, to Milwaukee. The deal was not supposed to be as lopsided as it played out; Whitey Herzog, during his time as both general and field manager in St. Louis, was incredibly high on Green’s potential, quoted at the time as saying “we think so much of Green that we would not have made the deal if he had not been in it.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 01, 2022 at 02:22 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, david green, obituaries

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Jeff Innis, former Mets pitcher, dead from cancer at 59

Former Mets reliever Jeff Innis died of cancer, the team announced Sunday. He was 59.

The right-handed sidearmer was drafted by the Mets out of the University of Illinois in 1983 and spent his entire seven-year major league career with the team from 1987-93.

“Shocked to hear he passed,” former teammate Dwight Gooden said Sunday. “We were together at Fantasy Camp last October and he never let on he was sick. Just a fun guy to be around. He was a workhorse out of the pen.”

He appeared in 288 games over that stretch and pitched to a 3.05 ERA.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 30, 2022 at 09:59 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: jeff innis, obituaries

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Gene Clines, part of Pirates’ 1971 World Series winner and MLB’s first all-minority lineup, dies at 75

A 5-foot-9, 170-pound outfielder and pinch-hitter, Clines hit .277/.329/.341 while appearing in 870 MLB games, 452 of them in Pittsburgh. The right-handed hitter collected 85 doubles, 24 triples, five home runs, 187 RBIs and 71 steals throughout his career.

Clines’ best season came in 1972, when he hit .334 over 107 games, setting career-highs in doubles (15) and steals (15). The most memorable postseason moment for Clines — aside from the championship itself — had to be his home run in Game 2 of the 1971 NLCS against the Giants, helping the Pirates erase an early series deficit with a 9-4 win.

“Gene was a speedy outfielder who was a key member of our 1971 World Series team,” Pirates president Travis Williams said in a statement. “He made a tremendous impact on the game, not only as a player after his career with the Pirates but also as a longtime coach in the big leagues.”

Clines, who also played for the Cubs, Rangers and Mets, began his coaching career with the Cubs and later worked as a hitting coach and instructor with the Astros, Mariners, Brewers and Giants.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 27, 2022 at 01:14 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: gene clines, obituaries

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Remembering Roger Samuels

Roger Samuels was born to be a pitcher.

A lefty, long and lanky. Sturdy as they come. He didn’t back down, no matter what he was up against, whether that was Darryl Strawberry and Ryne Sandberg in the batter’s box, or the unrelenting cancer that he battled over the past few years.

Roger—who passed away Monday at age 61—always gave it his best, as a pitcher and a friend. His memory is going to stick with me….

Roger was invited to big league camp in 1988, where he impressed manager Roger Craig. “He has a live arm and he looks good,” Craig told a reporter in 1988 spring training. “He’s a kid that’s really coming fast.”

The “kid” was assigned to Triple-A Phoenix. And that July, with Mike LaCoss on the shelf due to an elbow injury, Roger Samuels got the call. He was a major leaguer.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 19, 2022 at 01:46 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries

Monday, January 10, 2022

Eddie Basinski, the violin-playing second baseman for the Portland Beavers, has died at age 99

Edwin Frank Basinski, who played 11 seasons with the Portland Beavers and was the second-oldest former Major League Baseball player, died Saturday at a care facility in Gladstone where he had resided for the last seven years.

“The good side is, he lived 99 years and 65 days,” his son, Dave Basinski, said. “He had a full life, like Betty White. His spirits were good right up until the end.”

Basinski was often included on lists of the greatest Beavers of all time, and was once voted by fans as the “Most Famous Beaver.” In 2006, he was inducted into the Pacific Coast League Hall Of Fame.

During his time as a second baseman in Portland, Basinski had 87 home runs and 231 doubles. His career batting average was .258 over 15 minor league seasons. He was also known to serenade the crowd with his violin. As a classically trained violinist, Basinski had played with the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra before signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1944.

“He was a celebrity in Portland,” his son said. “I was so young I didn’t really get to appreciate it, but I have vague memories of going to the games and being in the clubhouse and years of hearing these stories. He became a very popular public speaker because he was a colorful storyteller.”


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 10, 2022 at 05:54 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: eddie basinski, obituaries

Former Detroit Tigers 1968 World Series champ Tommy Matchick dies at 78

The Detroit Tigers announced Tuesday that former utility infielder Tom Matchick, a member of the 1968 World Series championship team, has died. He was 78.

Matchick played three seasons with the Tigers, making his major league debut in 1967 and staying with the team through the 1969 season, before he was to Boston. He also played with the Royals, Brewers and Orioles through 1972, playing in the minor leagues the following four seasons.

In his six seasons, Matchick hit .215 with four home runs and 64 RBIs. Three of those home runs came in the 1968 season, including a walk-off, three-run shot to beat the Orioles, 5-4, on July 19 of that season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 10, 2022 at 01:51 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, tommy matchick

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Jim Corsi, former Red Sox pitcher, dead at 60

Former Red Sox pitcher Jim Corsi died early Tuesday at the age of 60 after a battle with cancer.

“Former Red Sox pitcher Jim Corsi passed away from cancer peacefully overnight with his family by his side. Way to finish strong Jim. Rest in peace my friend. We love you,” WBZ TV reporter Steve Burton tweeted on Tuesday morning.

Corsi’s passing came soon after he gave an emotional interview with the station in which he discussed his terminal cancer diagnosis.

“I’m at peace,” he told WBZ. “I know if I die, I’m going to a better place. That’s the No. 1 thing. I feel sorry for everybody that I’ll leave behind.”

Corsi, who was drafted by the Yankees, played for five different organizations, spending the most time with the A’s and Red Sox, before ending his career in 1999. He had a career 3.25 ERA and a 22-24 record as a relief pitcher.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 05, 2022 at 01:09 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: jim corsi, obituaries

Monday, January 03, 2022

Former Cubs outfielder Larry Biittner has passed away

The Cubs announced the passing of outfielder Larry Biittner on their official Twitter account this afternoon. He was 75 years old.

The Cubs acquired Biittner from the Montreal Expos May 17, 1976, along with pitcher Steve Renko, for Andre Thornton. This wasn’t a good deal for the Cubs, as Thornton went on to a fine career, mostly with Cleveland.

But Biittner did have his moments in a Cubs uniform. In 1977, as the more-or-less regular left fielder (and backup to Bill Buckner at first base), he hit .298/.345/.432 (147-for-493) with 12 home runs in 138 games.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 03, 2022 at 12:01 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, obituaries

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


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.


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

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