Recent Passings

Rocky Bridges, who played for Dodgers and Angels, dies at 87

The Los Angeles Times
January 30, 2015, 8:28 PM

Rocky Bridges, a journeyman infielder whose 11-year major league career was bookended by seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the expansion Los Angeles Angels, has died in Idaho. He was 87.

Bridges, who went on to be a minor league manager and major league coach, died Tuesday of natural causes in Coeur d'Alene, his family said.

During his baseball career, Bridges was better known for his wit and wordplay than his performance on the diamond. He played for seven teams from 1951 through 1961; the longest stretch was four seasons in Cincinnati. "It took me that long to learn how to spell it," he liked to tell reporters.

A shortstop, second baseman and third baseman, Bridges had a .247 career batting average and never hit more than five home runs or stole more than six bases in a season while playing for the Dodgers, Reds, Washington Senators, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals and Angels. He made the All-Star team in 1958 as the Senators' sole representative.

"I never got in the game, but I sat on the bench with Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Yogi Berra," Bridges told The Times in 1985. "I gave 'em instruction in how to sit."

In 2011 Bridges reminisced about his life in an interview with The Times. "I had fun playing baseball," he told columnist Jerry Crowe. "Many of the players now, I'm not sure they have fun playing the game."

After retiring from the Angels, he stayed on as a coach and then became a minor league manager in the Angels, San Diego, San Francisco and Pittsburgh farm systems, ultimately winning more than 1,300 games.

"I managed, I scouted, I coached, I did everything," Bridges said in 2011. "I was like a house without toilets. I was uncanny."

He was born Everett Lamar Bridges on Aug. 7, 1927, in Refugio, Texas, and grew up in Long Beach. After graduating from Long Beach Poly High School, he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

Bridges moved his family to Idaho in 1970. His wife, Mary, died in 2008. According to the Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review, he is survived by his daughter, Melinda Galbraith of Coeur d'Alene; sons Lance of Post Falls, Idaho, Cory of Coeur d'Alene and John of Idaho Falls, Idaho; and grandchildren.

Charlie Williams, a Met Traded for Mays, Dies at 67

By Patrick McGeehan
The New York Times
January 30, 2015

Charlie Williams, a pitcher best known as the trade bait the Mets used to land Willie Mays in the twilight of his career, died on Tuesday in Daytona Beach, Fla. He was 67.

The cause was complications following surgery in late December to clear blocked coronary arteries, his brother-in-law, Paul Eggermann, said.

Even as he lay in the hospital in the last few weeks, Williams continued to receive copies of his baseball cards from fans seeking autographs, Eggermann said. “It was a regular thing for a long time,” he said. “People would want to complete their collections.”

Williams’s cards were keepers not because of what he accomplished in his eight years in the major leagues, but for how he wound up as a San Francisco Giant. The Mets drafted him in 1968 and put him on their roster in 1971, at a salary of $12,000. He earned his first major league win by pitching the last five innings of a 5-2 victory over Mays and the Giants at Candlestick Park in San Francisco and went on to win four more games that year.

Still, he was expendable when the Giants offered to send Mays, who was by then 41, back to New York, where he had broken into the majors with the Giants before their move to San Francisco.

Mays, who had hit 646 home runs at that point, hit just 14 more in his two seasons with the Mets before retiring. Williams had a career record of 23-22 in 268 games, 31 with the Mets.

Charles Prosek Williams was born in Flushing, Queens, on Oct. 11, 1947, 16 years before the fledgling Mets took up residence there. He grew up nearby in Great Neck, on Long Island.

After retiring from baseball in 1978, Williams briefly drove a taxi in New York City before settling in Florida. His immediate survivors include a daughter, Sharon Williams; a son, Ryan; and a sister, Barbara Eggermann.

“He always kidded around that they traded Willie Mays for him, instead of vice versa,” Paul Eggermann said.

Former Red Sox Coach Don "Bear" Bryant Passes Away

Served as Major League Bullpen Coach on Pennant-Winning 1975 Team

The Associated Press
January 28, 2015

Boston, MA - Don "Bear" Bryant, bullpen coach for the Red Sox from 1974-76, passed away on Thursday, January 22 at Shands Hospital in Gain esville, FL after a brief but serious illness. He was 73.

Bryant spent seven seasons as a major league coach, his first three with the Red Sox. The catcher, who played parts of three seasons in the major leagues, ended his playing career with three years in the Red Sox' farm system, ultimately serving as a player/coach in 1973 for Triple-A Pawtucket under PawSox manager Darrell Johnson. When Johnson took over as Boston's skipper in 1974, Bryant joined him as bullpen coach.

With the Red Sox, Bryant was a part of the 1975 squad that won the American League pennant and served as a coach in the 1976 All-Star Game. From 1977-80, he was reunited with Johnson on the coaching staff for the expansion Seattle Mariners.

Signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1959, Bryant spent 14 seasons playing professionally and saw action in 59 major league games between the Chicago Cubs (1966) and Houston Astros (1969-70). On May 1, 1969, he caught Don Wilson's no-hitter for the Astros in Cincinnati.

Born in Jasper, FL, he had been living in Jacksonville and was survived by
his loving wife Judi, his father, who passed away on January 26, his mother, brothers Clyde and Jim, sister Judy, children Darrell, Darren, and Wendy, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Services will be held tomorrow, January 29 at 2:00 p.m. at Jacksonville Memorial Gardens in Orange Park, FL. The family will receive visitors beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Former Red Sox pitcher Bill Monbouquette dead at age 78

Steve Buckley
the Boston Herald
Monday, January 26, 2015

Bill Monbouquette, who was a 20-game winner and threw a no-hitter during his years with the Red Sox, but whose greatest contribution to the team was in the area of race relations, passed away on Sunday after a long battle with leukemia. He was 78.

The Medford native, who also starred on the hockey team at Medford High School, played a pivotal role in making the Red Sox clubhouse a more welcoming environment when Elijah “Pumpsie” Green arrived in 1959 as the team’s first African-American player.

Monbouquette was only 22 years old and in just his second big-league season when Green debuted with the Red Sox on July 21, 1959, making the Sox the last major-league team to integrate. Yet despite Monbouquette’s youth and inexperience, he had no problem stepping in during an incident in which a Red Sox coach began race-baiting an opposing player in Green’s presence.

As Green himself told the story, Monbouqette stood up, walked over to where the coach was standing in the dugout, and said, “Pumpsie Green’s on our team now, and you can’t talk that way.”

Monbouquette always explained that the famed Underground Railroad, which was used to spirit escaped slaves to Canada in the 19th century, played a role in the way he viewed the world. With many ex-slaves choosing to settle in West Medford, some of their descendents would later play with and against Monbouquette on the athletic field.

“I had black friends and black teammates growing up,” Monbouquette said. “Playing with Pumpsie was like being back in Medford.”

Monbouquette signed with the Red Sox in 1955 and made his major-league debut in 1958. He threw a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox in 1962, and in 1963 he fashioned a 20-10 record. He was a three-time American League All-Star.

He also has a unique niche in baseball history in that he was the last strikeout victim of Hall of Fame pitcher Leroy “Satchel” Paige, the Negro Leagues legend who finally made it to the big leagues in 1948. Paige was 59 years old when he came out of retirement to pitch a few innings for Charlie Finley’s last-place Kansas City Athletics on Sept. 25, 1965. Monbouquette, who was Boston’s starting pitcher that day, struck out against Paige in the third inning but pitched a complete game in Boston’s 5-2 victory.

Monbouquette was traded to the Detroit Tigers following the 1965 season and later pitched for the Yankees and San Francisco Giants. He had a 114-112 record in 11 big-league seasons, after which he went on to a long, distinguished career as a pitching coach.

Mike Timlin, who would later pitch on four World Series-winning teams, including the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox, credited Monbouquette for teaching him how to throw a sinker when he was a minor-leaguer in the Toronto Blue Jays system. That sinker played a large role in Timlin’s 18 big-league seasons.

Monbo also worked for the Tigers and Mets as a pitching coach. Among his many pupils was a young Justin Verlander, now the ace of the Tigers pitching staff.

“I thought Verlander was going to need a year in Triple-A,” Monbouquette said in 2007. “But his stuff was just plain nasty. It was just a matter of time with him.”

And he continued to coach even after retirement. A workout freak who made daily visits to Cousens Gym at Tufts University, Monbouquette would often stage impromptu coaching sessions with the Jumbos’ pitchers.

“He was the best pitching coach we ever had that wasn’t on our staff,” Tufts baseball coach John Casey said this morning. “He’d tell our players things that only a man of his experience could deliver. And when he’d finished, our players would be standing there with their mouths open.

“When he was diagnosed with leukemia and couldn’t come by any more, it was a tremendous loss for us,” said Casey. “He was a real presence here.”

When Monbouquette was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008, hundreds of people showed their support by turning out for a bone marrow drive at Tufts University.

“What happens when you do these events,” former Red Sox catcher Jerry Moses said that day, “is that you’re doing it in honor of the person who needs the bone marrow. But the beauty of it is that whoever comes in and takes the test, the information goes out all over the country to see if it’s a match for them. You might help Bill, you might help someone who lives in the Northwest.”

Funeral services are pending.

Ernie Banks, legendary 'Mr. Cub,' dead at 83

By Fred Mitchell
Chicago Tribune
January 23. 2015

Ernie Banks, one of baseball’s most ebullient and optimistic ambassadors, died Friday, his wife, Liz, confirmed.

Known worldwide as “Mr. Cub,” Banks became the Cubs' first African-American player on Sept. 17, 1953, and went on to become an 11-time All-Star and two-time National League Most Valuable Player (1958-59). His boundless enthusiasm and optimism personified what it meant to be a Cubs fan.

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts released the following statement Friday night:

“Words cannot express how important Ernie Banks will always be to the Chicago Cubs, the city of Chicago and Major League Baseball. He was one of the greatest players of all time. He was a pioneer in the major leagues. And more importantly, he was the warmest and most sincere person I’ve ever known. Approachable, ever optimistic and kind-hearted, Ernie Banks is and always will be Mr. Cub. My family and I grieve the loss of such a great and good-hearted man, but we look forward to celebrating Ernie’s life in the days ahead.”

President Barack Obama and the First Lady expressed their condolences Saturday morning.

"Michelle and I send our condolences to the family of Ernie Banks, and to every Chicagoan and baseball fan who loved him. Ernie came up through the Negro Leagues, making $7 a day. He became the first African-American to play for the Chicago Cubs, and the first number the team retired. Along the way, he became known as much for his 512 home runs and back-to-back National League MVPs as for his cheer, his optimism, and his love of the game. As a Hall-of-Famer, Ernie was an incredible ambassador for baseball, and for the city of Chicago. He was beloved by baseball fans everywhere, including Michelle, who, when she was a girl, used to sit with her dad and watch him play on TV. And in 2013, it was my honor to present Ernie with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Somewhere, the sun is shining, the air is fresh, his team's behind him, and Mr. Class – "Mr. Cub" – is ready to play two."

Banks, who hit 512 home runs and had 1,636 RBIs, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.

Renowned for his sunny disposition, Banks, 83, loved the game and often proclaimed: “Let’s play two!” even when the Cubs struggled to climb out of the National League basement. On Nov. 20, 2013, Banks was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom during ceremonies at the White House in recognition of his goodwill.

When first notified that he would be receiving the award, Banks said: “It means everything to me. It means life is just wonderful. When you do things to try to help people and share things, it really comes back to you. I try to do that. I love the players, love Wrigley Field, love all the players. … This award means a lot to me. It’s almost like the Nobel Peace Prize to me.”

In 1950, Banks began playing for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues. After serving two years in the military, he joined the Cubs.

Banks’ best overall season was 1959 when he led the NL with 143 RBIs and hit 43 home runs. Defensively, he led all shortstops with a .985 fielding percentage. In 1960 he won a Gold Glove at shortstop. He hit more than 40 homers five times, including 47 in 1958. In 1955 he hit a record five grand slams. Banks played his entire career with the Cubs and is considered one of the greatest players of all time not to play in the postseason.

Banks played more games at first base (1,259) than he did at shortstop (1,125), but he is remembered more for his most productive younger seasons at shortstop.

“It was just a pleasure playing with Ernie. I can't say it was a pleasure playing against him,” said former Cubs pitcher Milt Pappas, who also pitched for the Orioles, Reds and Braves during his 17-year career. “He was so genuine. He was just a great ambassador for the game.”

A statue of Banks’ likeness was unveiled near the corner of Clark and Addison outside of Wrigley Field at the start of the 2008 baseball season.

“When I am not here, this will be here,” Banks joked after the ceremony as he pointed to the sculpture.

“I wanted to finish my career with one team, in one city, one mayor, one park, one owner. I did that,” Banks said then. “The Wrigleys owned the team. We played all of our home games at Wrigley Field during the daytime. So my career was very unique and I am proud of it. I have been involved in the city of Chicago and with Little Leagues all around the city and suburbs. It was a fun and enjoyable time both on the field and off the field. Now I meet a lot of people who used to come out to Wrigley Field when they were kids and they are older now. They still remember those days.”

Banks was born in Dallas on Jan. 31, 1931. His father had just a third-grade education and his mother a sixth-grade education.

“But they were very wise,” Banks would say.

The outpouring of condolences began as soon as news broke of Banks' death and continued through the weekend:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

"Ernie Banks was more than a baseball player. He was one of Chicago’s greatest ambassadors,” Emanuel said. “He loved this city as much as he loved — and lived for — the game of baseball. This year during every Cubs game, you can bet that No.14 will be watching over his team. And if we’re lucky, it’ll be a beautiful day for not just one ballgame, but two."

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin

"I am saddened to learn of the passing of Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. "Mr. Cub" was so much more than a great hitter and Gold Glove fielder. His infectious love for the game of baseball was matched only by his passion for the people of Chicago. When I called the White House and asked the President to consider a Medal of Freedom for Ernie Banks, I felt that his impressive career with the Cubs and his courage in breaking down the color barrier in baseball were reason enough. But more than these amazing achievements, Ernie's spirit set him apart. His positive, hopeful Cub view of life filled every room and every baseball diamond he ever touched."

Gov. Bruce Rauner

“Ernie Banks was a trailblazer who helped break down barriers, a veteran who served his country with honor, a respected community leader and the greatest Chicago Cub of all time,” he said in a statement. “While we mourn him here, there’s no doubt that up in heaven, 'Mr. Cub' is lacing up his cleats and asking Saint Peter if they can ‘play two.’ Ernie Banks’ passion for baseball and for life showed us what true joy looks like and captured our hearts. He inspired us all.”

Former Major League Baseball player, Greenfield native Don Grate dies at 91

The Highland County Press
11/24/2014 11:10:00 AM

Former Major League Baseball and NBA Basketball player and Greenfield native Don Grate died Saturday, Nov. 22.

He was 91.

Mr. Grate was born Aug. 27, 1923 in Greenfield and was a star athlete at McClain High School and The Ohio State University.

He played Major League Baseball as a right-handed pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1945-46, making his MLB debut on July 6, 1945. He had a 1-1 Major League record.

Mr. Grate also was a small forward/shooting guard for the Sheboygan Redskins during the 1949-50 season.

Grate was selected for the 1944 U.S. Olympic Team, but the games were cancelled due to World War II.

He was the 47th oldest living former Major League Baseball player.

Nicknamed "Buckeye," Grate was a two-sport star at the Ohio State University. He lettered in both baseball and basketball in the 1944 and 1945 seasons. As a pitcher for Ohio State, he had career totals of 95 strikeouts and 25 walks in 89 innings pitched.

In basketball, Grate was a two-time all-Big Ten selection and earned All-America honors as a senior after scoring 272 points in 21 games. He was the captain of the 1944 team, leading the Buckeyes to a conference championship.

Following his playing career, Grate was the head basketball coach at Westerville High School, according to Greenfield historian George Foltz.

"Don came back to Greenfield for McClain's All-Class Reunion about 12 years ago and that may have been the last time I saw him," Foltz said. "He grew up in a house off Baltimore Avenue by the railroad tracks and was a great athlete."

Grate was inducted into the Ohio State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996.

The Fred Hunter Funeral Home in Hollywood, Fla. is serving the family.

Following cremation, a memorial service will be held in Ohio in the spring.

Arthur Quirk
(1937 - 2014)

Published in The Providence Journal on Nov. 24, 2014

QUIRK, ARTHUR L., JR. former pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Senators, founding board chair of Horizons, Inc. and former board member of American School for the Deaf, died on November 22, 2014, at home in Stonington, CT surrounded by his family.

"Artie" Quirk was born in Providence on April 11, 1937, and attended school in Narragansett. A gifted baseball pitcher, he beat all the big city schools as he pitched South Kingstown High School to two state baseball championships, 1953 and 1955, and was the Providence Journal Honor Roll Boy of 1955.

Art graduated from Dartmouth College in 1959. He was inducted into the Cape Cod League Hall of Fame in 2009. In the early 1960s, he pitched for the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Senators.

Because of his daughter Kerri, in 1979 he helped establish Horizons, Inc, which exists to create and sustain person-centered opportunities for people with special needs where they live, learn, work and play.

Art is survived by his wife Kathleen; his three children Kent, Kerri and Christopher; five grandchildren; siblings, William Quirk and wife, Coralie Shaw, Mary Connelly, and Judy Hurley and her husband, William; and numerous nieces and nephews.

His family will receive friends Tuesday, November 25, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM at the Mystic Funeral Home, Rt 1 (51 Williams Avenue, Mystic, CT).

A funeral mass will be celebrated Wednesday, November 26, at 10:00 AM, at St. Patrick Church, 32 East Main St., Mystic, CT. Burial will follow at St. Patrick Cemetery, River Road, Old Mystic, CT.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Art's memory to Horizons, Inc (

Ex-Giants pitcher Ray Sadecki, obtained in Cepeda trade, dies

By John Shea
Published Tuesday, November 18, 2014
10:27 pm,

Ray Sadecki, a left-handed pitcher the Giants acquired in the ill-fated 1966 Orlando Cepeda trade, died Monday in Arizona from complications of blood cancer.

He was 73.

Mr. Sadecki had a successful 18-year career, picking up 135 wins. He also was the winner of the 1964 World Series opener, but he was known among Giants fans for a trade considered among the worst in franchise history.

For Mr. Sadecki, the Giants sent Cepeda to
St. Louis, where he was the 1967 National League MVP and led the Cardinals to a World Series title. Mr. Sadecki pitched four seasons in San Francisco, going 32-39 and losing a league-high 18 games in 1968.

Mr. Sadecki struck out 206 batters that year, the most by a lefty in the team’s San Francisco era until Madison Bumgarner struck out 219 this year.

The Giants believed they had a redundancy with Cepeda and Willie McCovey, both future Hall of Fame first basemen, and were convinced one needed to be dealt. Mr. Sadecki was supposed to be the Giants’ missing link to their first pennant since 1962, but they finished second in each of his four seasons.

“When they gave up Cepeda to get me, they had to live with it,” Sadecki said in the 1979 book San Francisco Giants: An Oral History. “They had to keep running me out there. I was asked a hundred times if I felt the pressure of the Cepeda thing, which I didn’t believe I did, and denied it all the time. But sometimes you reflect back and you wonder.”

Mr. Sadecki out 1,614 batters in 2,500 1/3 career innings and threw 85 complete games, including 20 shutouts.

Yankee Stadium fixture 'Bill the Baker' dies at 67
Novembers 13, 2014 9:33p ET

New York (AP) A fan befriended by former New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner who became a press box fixture for more than 30 years known as ''Bill the Baker,'' has died. He was 67.

The Yankees said Bill Stimers died Thursday at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in the Bronx. They did not give a cause of death.

Stimers worked for Entenmann's Bakery and first met Steinbrenner in the mid-1970s outside Yankee Stadium. Stimers often gave him chocolate chip cookies and impressed the bombastic boss with his encyclopedic knowledge of baseball.

Steinbrenner later gave Stimers a seat in the press box. Over the years, Stimers traveled with the team as Steinbrenner's good-luck charm.

Stimers remained a stadium regular when the Yankees moved to their new ballpark across the street in 2009. Steinbrenner died in 2010 and the team kept giving Stimers a seat, often in the stands.

Alvin Dark, 92, Dies; Led Giants to Pennants as Captain and Manager

By Richard Goldstein
The New York Times
November 13, 2014

Alvin Dark, who was the All-Star shortstop and captain of the New York Giants’ pennant-winning teams in the 1950s and went on to manage the team to a pennant in San Francisco, but who was later shadowed by controversy over his attitude toward black and Latino players, died on Thursday at his home in Easley, S.C. He was 92.

His death was confirmed by his son Gene.

Dark played in three World Series, with the Boston Braves in 1948 and with the Giants in 1951 and 1954. He was the National League’s rookie of the year in 1948, when he hit .322 and helped the Braves capture the franchise’s first pennant in 34 years.

He was an All-Star three times as a Giant, had a career batting average of .289 with 2,089 hits in 14 seasons, and led N.L. shortstops in double plays three times. He teamed with second baseman Eddie Stanky, first with the Braves and then with the Giants, to form one of the finest middle-infield combinations of their era.

He was “the cement that holds the ball club together,” as Manager Leo Durocher said in 1954, just before the Giants clinched the pennant.

Dark was one of three superb shortstops in the decade after World War II — often called the Golden Age of New York baseball — along with the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Pee Wee Reese and the Yankees’ Phil Rizzuto. Both of them, unlike Dark, are in the Baseball Hall of Fame, although Dark had a higher career batting average and more power.

He managed the Giants to the 1962 pennant in their fifth year in San Francisco, and he managed the Oakland Athletics to the World Series championship 12 years later.

But Dark may be best remembered for headlines he made off the field.

He was named the Giants’ manager in 1961. A year later, with his former New York teammates Whitey Lockman, Wes Westrum and Larry Jansen as coaches, his Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-game pennant playoff, evoking New York’s 1951 pennant victory over Brooklyn on Bobby Thomson’s Game 3 playoff home run. In 1962, as in 1951, the Giants went on to lose to the Yankees in the World Series.

The trouble started two seasons later.

In the summer of 1964, Dark was quoted by Stan Isaacs of Newsday as saying: “We have trouble because we have so many Negro and Spanish-speaking players on this team. They are just not able to perform up to the white players when it comes to mental alertness.”

Dark held a news conference and said that he had been misunderstood, that his words had been “deformed,” and that he did not hold the racial views the article attributed to him.

“I do not believe you can judge people by groups — Negro, Spanish-speaking, white or any other way,” he said.

The Giants’ lineup in 1964 featured a host of outstanding African-American and Latino players, including Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Orlando Cepeda.

Dark’s relationship with the Giants’ Latino players was portrayed as troubled in “Viva Baseball,” a 2005 television documentary produced and directed by Dan Klores. In the documentary, Cepeda, a Hall of Fame first baseman, recalled that Dark had asked Latino players not to speak Spanish because other players feared what they might be saying, and Felipe Alou, who played for Dark from 1961 to 1963 and later managed the Giants, called him “a very nice man” who was “totally separated from the reality of the world.”

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Dark’s personal life may also have affected his managerial fortunes. A Southern Baptist known throughout baseball as a devout Christian, he was nonetheless involved in a long-running affair (with a woman he eventually married) even though he had a wife and four children. The Giants’ owner, Horace Stoneham, presumably embarrassed by the racial controversy and feeling that Dark was hypocritical in his personal affairs — something Dark would come to acknowledge — fired him on the last day of the 1964 season as the Giants finished three games out of first place.

Alvin Ralph Dark was born in Comanche, Okla., on Jan. 7, 1922. He grew up in Lake Charles, La., and went to Louisiana State University, where he played baseball and basketball and starred in football as a triple-threat back.

After serving as a Marine officer during World War II, he was signed by the Braves for a $50,000 bonus. Dark and Stanky were traded to the Giants after the 1949 season in a deal that allowed Durocher to reshape his team by giving up power hitters (outfielders Sid Gordon and Willard Marshall) in exchange for scrappy, versatile players.

At shortstop, Dark lacked quickness and range but compensated by positioning himself skillfully. As a right-handed batter, he liked to punch the ball to the opposite field.

In the final game of the three-game playoff for the N.L. pennant on Oct. 3, 1951, at the Polo Grounds, Dark’s single to right ignited a ninth-inning rally that reached its climax with one of the most dramatic moments in baseball history, Thomson’s game-winning three-run homer off the Dodgers’ Ralph Branca. The Giants lost the World Series to the Yankees in six games, but Dark had 10 hits in the Series and batted .417.

Dark was an All-Star for the third time in four seasons when the Giants won the 1954 pennant, and he batted .412 in their World Series sweep of the Cleveland Indians.

He remained with the Giants until June 1956, when he was traded to St. Louis. He played for the Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Milwaukee Braves, then retired after the 1960 season.

Dark was hired by the contentious Charles O. Finley to manage his Kansas City Athletics in 1966. Dark was fired after two seasons, managed the Cleveland Indians for three and a half years, and was hired by Finley again. He managed Finley’s team, which had become the Oakland A’s, to a World Series title in 1974 and a divisional title in 1975 before Finley fired him a second time. He managed the San Diego Padres in 1977.

In addition to his son Gene, Dark is survived by his second wife, Jackie; his daughters, Allison Walling, Eve Carpenter and Margaret Robinson, from his marriage to his first wife, Adrienne, which ended in divorce; a son, Rusty, and a daughter, Lori Nail, from Jackie Dark’s previous marriage; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Dark worked on developing minor leaguers for the Cubs and later the Chicago White Sox in the 1980s. He also created a foundation to provide financial support for Christian ministries.

Amid the triumphs and the turbulent times in his long baseball career, the epic 1951 season stood out for Dark. He looked back on the Giants’ memorable pennant run in the light of his religious faith.

In an interview for the book “The Miracle at Coogan’s Bluff” (1975), by Thomas Kiernan, Dark said, “I kind of perceive a scheme in the whole thing.”

“You don’t believe it was the Lord’s plan?” he added. “How could it have been otherwise?”

Allen S. ‘Rip’ Ripley, 62

The Sun Chronicle
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 12:10 am

NORTH ATTLEBORO — Allen S. “Rip” Ripley, of North Attleboro, passed away at Mass General Hospital on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. He was 62.

Allen was born in Norwood on Oct. 18, 1952, to the late Walter F. “Walt” Ripley Sr. and the late Mary E. (Sullivan) Ripley.

Raised and educated in North Attleboro, Allen graduated from North Attleboro High School in 1970. He then followed in his father’s footsteps by pursuing his dream of pitching for the Boston Red Sox.

That pursuit started in 1972 when he was signed into the Red Sox farm system. He moved his way up over the next several years and finally captured his dream on April 10, 1978, when he made his major league debut for the Red Sox. He continued his career by pitching for the Red Sox in 1979, San Francisco Giants in 1980-1981 and Chicago Cubs in 1982. Allen’s finest season was in 1977 with the Pawtucket Red Sox, when he recorded 15 wins and only 4 losses which set all-time records for most wins, most consecutive wins and highest winning percentage in a single season, two of which still stand today.

Allen is survived by wife, Amelia Ripley; children: Erin Ripley, Eric Ripley and Lindsey Messier; grandchild, Emily Leary; siblings: Robert Van Ness, Nancy Laviolette and Walter “Skipper” Ripley Jr.; best friend, Dana Alger; many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

Allen was the brother of the late Raymond Ripley.

Family and friends are invited to come together in honor of Allen’s life on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, from 7 to 10 p.m., at the Elks Lodge, 52 Bulfinch St., North Attleboro.

Death of Kelvin Moore
Former A's first baseman dies in Georgia

The Associated Press
November 9, 2014

COVINGTON, Ga. (AP) — Former Oakland Athletics first baseman Kelvin Moore, who played parts of three major league seasons, has died. He was 57.

The A's confirmed Wednesday, with information provided by the family, that Moore died Sunday in Georgia of cardiac arrest. He had multiple illnesses in recent years, including diabetes.

Moore was a member of Oakland's 1981 AL West champion team.

A native of Leroy, Alabama, Moore was a sixth-round draft pick by the A's in 1978 out of Jackson State University. He made his rookie debut at age 23 in '81 and batted .255 in 14 games for manager Billy Martin.

Moore played 76 games over three seasons with the A's from 1981-83. He had a .223 career batting average with eight home runs and 25 RBIs.

The former baseball All-American at Leroy High School in Alabama is survived by his wife Patricia, daughters Chasity and Kim, and son Justin.

Former MLB pitcher Brad Halsey dies in climbing accident at 33

Justin McGuire
November 5, 2014 5:11pm EST

Brad Halsey, who pitched in 88 games for three teams from 2004 to 2006, has died at the age of 33. USA Today reports Halsey died Friday "in a recreational climbing accident near his New Braunfels, Texas home."

Halsey, a left-hander, was an eighth-round pick of the Yankees in the 2002 MLB Draft after pitching at the University of Texas. He debuted with the Yankees in 2004, then pitched for the Diamondbacks in 2005 and the A's in 2006. He is perhaps best remembered for being one of the players sent from New York to Arizona as part of the Randy Johnson trade. He most recently pitched in the minors for the Yankees in 2011.

Overall, he was 14-19 with a 4.84 ERA and 160 strikeouts.

Police in Comal County told the Associated Press an investigation was still ongoing into the accident in the Texas Hill Country area. The Lux Funeral Home said services were pending.

In 2004, Halsey dueled Boston ace Pedro Martinez into the middle innings in a game highlighted by Derek Jeter's diving catch into the stands at Yankee Stadium.

In 2006, Halsey gave up Barry Bonds' 714th home run, tying Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Halsey later joked about the specially marked balls for Bonds' at-bats.

"They just have a B and a number on them, and a picture of Barry, too. If you look into his eye, he winks at you," Halsey said.

Former pitcher, Expos broadcaster Jean-Pierre Roy dies

Presse Canadienne
November 1, 2014 6:18 PM EST

Jean-Pierre Roy, who pitched in professional and minor-league baseball for a decade before becoming a play-by-play broadcaster and analyst for Montreal Expos games, has died. He was 94.

La Presse reported Saturday that Roy had prostate cancer, but died from reasons related to high blood pressure and his advanced age, according to his wife. He was living in Florida for about 20 years.

Roy was born in Montreal on June 26, 1920. He was a pioneer of baseball in Quebec. His career in the minor leagues started in 1940 with the Trois-Rivières Renards of the provincial league, and took him to Mobile, Ala., Houston, Rochester, N.Y., Sacramento, Calif., between 1942 and 1944, when he joined the Montreal Royals, a double-A club associated with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In 1945, he had his best season, with 25 wins and 11 losses in 41 starts. In 293 innings, he had a 3.72 earned-run average.

A year later, he was offered the chance to join the Dodgers. He played three games, including one as a starter, May 9 in Cincinnati. He pitched 6 1/3 innings and surrendered seven points with an ERA of 9.95.

His career ended in 1955, but he came back to the baseball world when the Expos were founded in 1969. He worked as a play-by-play broadcaster for games on the radio until 1973, and he was an analyst for Radio-Canada television with Guy Ferron and Raymond Lebrun until 1983.

Ezra Malachi (Pat) McGlothin

Published in Knoxville News Sentinel from Oct. 25 to Oct. 28, 2014

McGlothin, Ezra Malachi (Pat) - age 93, of Knoxville, passed away Friday, October 24, 2014.

Pat grew up in the John Sevier Community and later graduated from Central High School. He attended the University of Tennessee and played on the baseball team for two seasons, after which he enlisted in the Navy during World War II.

Pat's signature baseball accomplishment was a game in 1944 with the Corpus Christi All-Stars. He pitched a 19 inning complete game, facing Ted Williams seven at bats with no hits surrendered and three strike outs. Pat went on to drive in the winning run. He rose through the minor leagues, culminating in two seasons as a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949 and 1950.

Pat was on the 1949 Dodger team that faced the New York Yankees in the World Series and was one of the last surviving players from that historic baseball era.

After his playing days ended Pat served as manager of the Knoxville Smokies for one season and then began his career in the insurance industry. As president and owner of Mutual Insurance Agency in Knoxville for over 60 years, Pat was a well-known and respected member of the community, officially retiring from work at age 90.

Pat was a member of First Baptist Church of Knoxville for over half a century, serving as deacon and longtime greeter at the front door before Sunday services. He also faithfully attended Burlington Masonic Lodge and Downtown Optimist Club for many decades.

Later in life Pat received several recognitions for his athletic prowess including the Mobile Bears Hall of Fame, Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame, and Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame.

Pat maintained a keen mind until the very end in spite of physical limitations and was constantly engaged in the financial markets, sports, and his family.

Affectionately known as Daddy Pat to his grandchildren, Pat was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, community servant, and man of faith. He taught his family and friends what it meant to be a lifelong servant to others, showing Christ's love and a deep sense of humility to everyone he met.

Pat is preceded in death by his parents, Ezra Malachi Sr. and Bessie (Gouge) McGlothin; three brothers, Elmer, Kenneth, and Paul McGlothin; and two sisters, Anne Lovelace and Frankie Watson.

Survivors include his wife of 69 years, Dorothy Lindsay McGlothin (Dot); one son, Steve McGlothin and his wife Carol; a daughter, Suzan Dewine, two grandsons, Patrick McGlothin, Kevin McGlothin and his wife Jenny; two granddaughters, Kristin Finck and her husband Adam, Kim Dewine and her fiancé Kevin Lawrence.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 5:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Knoxville, 510 W. Main Street, Knoxville, TN 37902, with the Rev. Dave Ward and Dr. Tom Ogburn officiating.

A visitation for friends will follow the funeral services at the church. Private interment will be at Highland Memorial Park with Patrick and Kevin McGlothin, Adam Finck and Kevin Lawrence serving as pallbearers.

Memorial contributions may be made to the First Baptist Church of Knoxville, 510 W. Main Street, Knoxville, TN. 37902.

These funeral arrangements are under the care of Bridges Funeral Home, 5430 Rutledge Pike, 865-523-4999.

Former Tigers pitcher Jeff Robinson, 52, dies

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
October 27, 2014 6:54 p.m. EDT

Jeff Robinson, a promising pitching prospect in the early 1980s who went on to pitch in nearly 100 games for the Tigers, passed away Sunday afternoon after a seven-week battle with undisclosed health issues. He was 52.

Mike Henneman, Robinson's roommate in the minors and major leagues, confirmed his death to The News. Henneman flew from Texas to see Robinson in Kansas last week, knowing the prognosis was grim.

Robinson died at a hospice near home in Overland Park, Kansas, surrounded by his wife, Meredith, family and friends. He also is survived by twin sons who play baseball at Neosho County Community College, and a daughter.

Robinson was a third-round pick by the Tigers in 1983 out of Azusa Pacific University and made his major-league debut in 1987, tossing seven innings of one-run ball to beat the White Sox.

He helped the Tigers to an American League East championship, and appeared in one game in that year's American League Championship Series against the Twins, Game 5, and would go on to make 97 appearances in all for Detroit over four years, almost exclusively as a starter.

Tall, at 6-foot-6, the right-hander's best season in Detroit, by far, was 1988, when, in 24 games (23 starts) he was 13-6 with a 2.98 ERA. In 172 innings, he allowed just 121 hits. On a staff that included bigger names like Jack Morris, Frank Tanana and Doyle Alexander, Robinson was the most consistent that season.

Robinson never got back to that level, however. He struggled the next two seasons with the Tigers, and after the 1990 season, he was traded to the Orioles for power-hitting catcher Mickey Tettleton.

He spent a year in Baltimore and split the early months of 1992 between Texas and Pittsburgh. Detroit brought him back that July and sent him to Triple-A Toledo, trying him as a reliever, but he never got back to the major leagues, retiring before the following spring training.

For his career, he was 47-40 with a 4.79 ERA in 141 appearances.

After his playing days, Robinson returned home to California before moving to Kansas in 1998. He spent years teaching baseball to kids, including time as the pitching director at the Natural Baseball Academy in Olathe, Kansas.

"That was his passion," Henneman said.

Oscar Taveras, Promising Cardinals Outfielder, Dies in Car Crash

By Tyler Kepner
The New York Times
October 26, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO — Oscar Taveras, a promising outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 22.

Word of Taveras’s death spread during the early innings of Game 5 of the World Series at AT&T Park, where Taveras played his final game Oct. 16, in the fifth game of the National League Championship Series. He homered in his first and last games in St. Louis: in his debut on May 31 and in the Cardinals’ last home playoff game this month.

“I simply can’t believe it,” Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. “I first met Oscar when he was 16 years old and will forever remember him as a wonderful young man who was a gifted athlete with an infectious love for life who lived every day to the fullest.”

Taveras was ranked by Baseball America and other outlets as the No. 3 prospect in the game before this season. His breakout season was 2012, when he hit 23 homers while batting .321 in Class AA. After injuries sidetracked him last year, he hit .318 with eight homers in 62 games at Class AAA this season.

Taveras appeared in 80 games for the Cardinals this season, hitting .239 with three homers, playing mostly in right field. He was expected to compete for the starting job in spring training.

This is the first death of an active major leaguer since Greg Halman, a Seattle Mariners outfielder, died after being stabbed by his brother in the Netherlands in 2011. The Cardinals have been touched by other tragedies in recent years, including the death of pitchers Darryl Kile, to a heart defect in 2002, and Josh Hancock, in a car accident in 2007.

Lou Lucier, 96, oldest living Red Sox, dies

The Telegram & Gazette Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lou Lucier, who had been the oldest living former Red Sox player, passed away Saturday afternoon at the Millbury Health Care Center, according to family members.

He was 96.

Born in Northbridge and raised in Grafton, Lucier pitched parts of three seasons in the wartime major leagues from 1943-1945, winning three games for Joe Cronin's Boston Red Sox in 1943.

A 5-foot-8, 160-pound right-hander, Lucier made his major league debut in relief on April 23, 1943, against Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics at Shibe Park. But his first major league win came in the second game of a doubleheader at old Comiskey Park in Chicago on May 16, 1943.

In an era long before for the designated hitter, the 25-year-old Lucier got two hits and drove in two runs in the Red Sox's 4-2 win.

"The two runs I drove in were actually the winning runs," Lucier said in a 2010 interview with the Telegram & Gazette.

Lucier, whose teammates during that 1943 included Hall of Famers Bobby Doerr and Al Simmons, also went the distance on the mound, allowing nine hits, striking out four and walking two. Only one of the runs he allowed was earned, by the way, and the game, watched by 9,874, took just 1 hour and 43 minutes to play.

Lucier's second victory came against the Tigers on May 30, 1943. He allowed only seven hits in that 5-1 win, the only Detroit run scoring on Rip Radcliff's hit in the first inning. The Red Sox, who finished eighth in the American League in '43, scored two runs in the sixth and three in the seventh.

"They hit me a little bit harder then than the first time," Lucier recalled.

His third victory came against Detroit in the first game of a doubleheader, also at Fenway, on Sept. 26, 1943. Lucier, who pitched all 10 innings of the 3-2 win.

Lucier finished the 1943 season with a 3-4 record and 3.89 ERA, pitching in 16 games, nine of them starts.

He went onto pitch three more games for the Red Sox in 1944 and another game for Philadelphia that season before ending his career with the Phillies at the age of 27, pitching for the final time on June 13, 1945.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Earl Smith

Published in the Fresno Bee on Oct. 2, 2014

Earl was born on March 14, 1928, in Sunnyside, WA the youngest of five children born to Walter and Grace Smith. When he was about eight years old the family moved to Southern California where Earl graduated from Bonita High School in LaVerne, CA in 1946 and later from Fresno State College in 1951.

He was an outstanding athlete who lettered in numerous sports while in high school, and played varsity football and baseball while attending FSC. But his dream was always with baseball and he signed his first professional baseball contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in June of 1949.

He was inducted into the California State University, Fresno, Baseball Hall of Fame in November of 1998. After retiring from baseball, Earl worked in the grocery business and had his own market for many years before retiring to the country to become an almond farmer.

In September of 1947 he met Betty Wimer of Fresno and they were married September 24, 1949. Earl and Betty celebrated their 65th anniversary several days before his death on September 27, 2014.

Earl and Betty had three children, Joanne (Michael Meyer), Richard (Gwen), and Lisa (Chris Mabe) who all survive him. He also leaves five grandsons; and three great-grandchildren; as well as a sister, Hazel Snell, of McPherson, KS.

A Graveside Service in remembrance of Earl will be held at Fresno Memorial Gardens on Friday, October 3, 2014, at 10:00 a.m.

Front office mainstay Martinez passes away

Special assistant to GM had been with Braves since 1995 season

By Mark Bowman / | October 2, 2014

ATLANTA -- The Braves lost a valuable and treasured friend when Jose Martinez suddenly passed away at an Orlando-area hospital on Wednesday night. Martinez had spent the past couple of weeks exercising his passion to help young baseball players at the Braves' Spring Training complex.

Martinez, 72, had just completed his 20th season as a special assistant to the general manager in the Braves' organization. The friendly Cuban was lured to Atlanta by Braves president John Schuerholz before the 1995 season. Schuerholz and Martinez had become associated while they were together in the Royals' organization.

While he had a good eye for scouting talent in Latin American countries, Martinez's greatest value came via his ability to relate and communicate with the Minor League players as they adjusted to life in professional baseball. His contributions on the development end were appreciated by former first-round Draft pick Matt Lipka and the many other players who benefited from his desire to assist.

Martinez also touched the lives of many front office members, including Royals general manager Dayton Moore, who worked for the Braves before going to Kansas City. Moore was one of the many who used to enjoy the nights when Martinez would cook some kind of fish and tell stories until the late night hours during Spring Training.

Before joining the Braves, Martinez spent 15 seasons as a Major League coach for the Royals (1980-88) and Cubs ('88-94). His big league playing career consisted of the 201 games he played over two seasons ('69-70) with the Pirates.

George Shuba, 89, Dies; Handshake Heralded Racial Tolerance in Baseball

By Richard Goldstein
The New Your Times
September 30, 2014

George Shuba, the Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder who played in three World Series during the 1950s but who was best remembered for his welcoming gesture to Jackie Robinson at home plate on the day Robinson, as a minor leaguer, broke baseball’s color barrier, died on Monday at his home in Youngstown, Ohio. He was 89.

His son, Michael, confirmed the death.

Playing in Brooklyn for seven seasons, Shuba was usually a backup, but he had his moments. Known as Shotgun for his ability to spray line drives, like buckshot, out of his left-handed batting stance, he batted .305 for the Dodgers’ 1952 National League pennant-winner. He was the first National Leaguer to hit a pinch-hit homer in the World Series, connecting for a two-run drive off Allie Reynolds at Yankee Stadium in Game 1 of the 1953 Series.

But his career was most pointedly defined in Jersey City, by an image at home plate at Roosevelt Stadium two years before Shuba made his major league debut.

On the afternoon of April 18, 1946, Robinson became the first black player in modern organized baseball when he made his debut with the Dodgers’ Montreal Royals farm team in their International League opener against the Jersey City Giants.

In the third inning, Robinson hit a three-run homer over the left-field fence. When he completed his trip around the bases, Shuba, the Royals’ left fielder and their next batter, shook his hand.

Congratulating a home-run hitter was a commonplace ritual, but Shuba’s welcome to a smiling Robinson was captured in an Associated Press photograph that has endured as a portrait of racial tolerance.

“I couldn’t care less if Jackie was Technicolor,” Shuba told The Montreal Gazette on the 60th anniversary of that handshake. “We’d spent 30 days at spring training, and we all knew that Jackie had been a great athlete at U.C.L.A. As far as I was concerned, he was a great ballplayer — our best. I had no problem going to the plate to shake his hand instead of waiting for him to come by me in the on-deck circle.”

Robinson had four hits in five plate appearances that afternoon in the Royals’ 14-1 victory. In their second game of the season, Shuba hit three home runs.

When Robinson joined the Dodgers in 1947, he faced the full force of racism. He heard taunting from opposing dugouts and received hate mail and death threats. But he surmounted the pressures, earning what was then the major leagues’ one Rookie of the Year award on his way to a Hall of Fame career and recognition as a civil rights pioneer.

Shuba would celebrate with Robinson and their teammates when the 1955 Dodgers captured Brooklyn’s only World Series championship.

George Thomas Shuba was born on Dec. 13, 1924, in Youngstown, where his father, an immigrant from Czechoslovakia, worked in a steel mill. He was signed by the Dodgers’ organization in 1944 after attending a tryout camp.

Shuba played in only 20 games for Montreal in 1946 before being sent to the Dodgers’ Mobile, Ala., team of the lower-classification Southern Association. He did not make his debut with the Dodgers until July 2, 1948.

Although he had a smooth hitting stroke, Shuba was hampered in Brooklyn by a knee injury he had incurred with Montreal, and he faced stiff competition getting outfield playing time. “Snider, Pafko, Furillo, they weren’t humpties,” he told the author Roger Kahn in “The Boys of Summer,” referring to Duke Snider, Andy Pafko and Carl Furillo.

In 1955, when Shuba played in his third Dodgers-Yankees World Series, he became a footnote figure in Brooklyn baseball history.

In his only appearance in that Series, Shuba grounded out pinch-hitting for second baseman Don Zimmer in the sixth inning of Game 7 at Yankee Stadium. Jim Gilliam, the Dodgers left fielder, replaced Zimmer at second, and Sandy Amoros went to left. In the bottom of the sixth, Amoros made a sparkling catch on a drive by Yogi Berra with two men on base, and the Dodgers, behind the pitching of Johnny Podres, went on to beat the Yankees, 2-0, for their Series championship.

Shuba retired after that season with a career batting average of .259 and 24 home runs. He later worked as a postal clerk in Youngstown.

In addition to his son, Michael, Shuba is survived by his wife, Kathryn; his daughters Marlene Delfranio and Marykay McNeeley; a sister, Helen Wasko; and eight grandchildren.

Shuba kept only one baseball memento from his playing days in his living room, the photograph of that handshake when he was a minor leaguer. He carried a print with him when he visited schools in the Youngstown area to speak about racial tolerance.

Michael Shuba said in an interview Tuesday that his father had taken the ball field with black players in Ohio before joining the Dodgers’ organization and that his Roman Catholic upbringing — he was an altar boy — “had an impact” on how he treated others.

When he would go home from school and report an incident of bullying, Michael Shuba said, his father would point to the image from April 1946 and say: “Look up at that photo. I want you to remember what that stands for. You treat all people equally.”

Grant Lester Dunlap
December 20, 1923 - September 10, 2014

Published in the Los Angeles Times from Sept. 21 to Sept. 28, 2014

Grant Lester Dunlap, Professor Emeritus of Occidental College, died September 10 in Vista, CA at the age of 90.

Born in Stockton, CA in 1923, Dunlap played professional baseball, including a one year stint in the major leagues with the Cardinals; served as an officer in the Marine Corps in World War II; and attended both Occidental College in Los Angeles and University of the Pacific in Stockton.

In 1955 he returned to Occidental as a coach, athletic director and professor. As basketball coach, he compiled a record of 205-156, as baseball coach a 510-316 record. Dunlap and his wife Janet, retired to San Diego County in 1984.

In 1994 he published a sports novel called Kill the Umpire based on his experiences in the Texas league. He was also a member of Shadowridge Country Club in Vista.

Frank Torre, older brother of Yankees Hall of Fame skipper Joe and former Milwaukee Braves first baseman, dead at 82

Though he was nine years older, Frank Torre, who broke into the majors with the Milwaukee Braves in 1956, served as a mentor to his younger brother growing up on Avenue T in Brooklyn, and later as a father figure after their parents split up.

By Bill Madden
New York Daily News
Saturday, September 13, 2014, 12:18 PM

He was the ultimate big brother.

Frank Torre, who provided guidance, fierce loyalty, tough love and inspiration to his brother Joe from childhood in Brooklyn to world championship glory in the Bronx, died Saturday. He was 82 and had been living with a transplanted heart for 18 years.

Though he was nine years older, Frank Torre, who broke into the majors with the Milwaukee Braves in 1956, served as a mentor to his younger brother growing up on Avenue T in Brooklyn, and later as a father figure after their parents split up. It was Frank Torre who realized his not-so-little little brother, who had ballooned to 240 pounds with a 40-inch waist by the time he was a junior as third baseman, first baseman and pitcher at St. Francis Prep, was in danger of eating himself right out of a promising baseball career, not to mention a long life. “You’re a fat slob,” Frank chided him. “With all that blubber, you’ll never become a big leaguer. You’re too fat to be anything but a catcher. Better quit fooling around with pitching and playing the infield. Buy yourself a catcher’s mask and go on a diet.”

Young Joe did precisely that, and two years later, Honey Russell, the same Braves scout who had signed Frank in 1951, came to the Torre house on Avenue T armed with a contract to sign Joe, who, at the time, was mulling a scholarship offer to St. John’s. This time Frank served as Joe’s unofficial agent, turning down Russell’s initial bonus offer of $24,000 while citing the value of Joe’s scholarship offer to St. John’s. “C’mon, Honey,” Frank said, “you can do better than that.” Eventually, they compromised on $26,000.

Joe’s rise through the Braves’ minor league system was meteoric and he was summoned to the big leagues at age 20 from Triple-A Louisville in mid-May of 1961 after their longtime first string catcher, Del Crandall, suffered an arm injury. He just missed out on being a teammate of Frank’s, who, after four seasons as the Braves’ first baseman, was sent back to Louisville in 1960 and, a year later, sold to the Phillies.

Frank Torre hit over .300 in three of four minor league seasons before the Braves promoted him to the big leagues in 1956. In 1957, Frank took over as the Braves’ regular first baseman when Joe Adcock, the incumbent, broke his leg in June. In 129 games in ’57, Frank hit .272 with five homers and 40 RBI and then wound up playing an instrumental role in the Braves’ World Series upset of the Yankees, hitting .300 with a pair of homers and three RBI in the seven games. The following season when the Braves repeated as NL champs, only to lose to the Yankees (who came back from a 3-1 deficit) in the World Series, Frank hit a career-high .309 with six homers and 55 RBI.

Though a superior defensive first baseman, the Braves felt Frank simply didn’t hit enough at a position which, customarily, required power and by 1960 he was back in the minors. After being purchased by the Phillies in December of ’61, he hit .310 with no homers in 108 games in ’62 before finishing his career with them in 1963. In 714 games over six-plus major league seasons, he hit .273 with 13 homers.
Exported.; Linda Cataffo/New York Daily News Frank Torre cheers on his younger brother's Yankees during Game 4 of the 2001 World Series.

After retiring from baseball, Frank went to work as an executive with the Rawlings Sporting Goods Co. and later served as vice president of the Baseball Assistance Team (BAT).

It was in the fall of 1995 when Joe Torre called his brother and asked him for his advice. It seemed Joe had been interviewed for the Yankees’ general manager job, but now, he’d heard, he was being considered for their manager’s position. Citing Yankee owner George Steinbrenner’s propensity for firing managers, Frank’s advice was, well, frank: “You’re crazy to take the job,” he said.

But as Joe, who’d never been to a World Series as a player or a manager, recounted in his speech on the Yankees’ day in his honor, on August 23, that was one of the few times in his life he failed to heed his brother. “My brother Frank said I was crazy to take this job but he’d been in the World Series two straight years, which I had to watch from the outside as a teenager. So this is all his fault.”

Joe went on to win the world championship in his first season as Yankee manager in 1996, but along the way, Frank Torre’s health began deteriorating and he learned he was going to have to get a heart transplant.

“I was there when Frank needed the heart transplant; I was in Cleveland that day when they found out,” Joe Girardi said. “I worked with Frank with B.A.T. and he was a wonderful man. My heart goes out to the Torre family.”

Earlier that season, they had both been shattered when their oldest brother, Rocco, died suddenly of a heart attack at his home while watching a Yankee game on TV. After waiting for the right donor for nearly two and half months at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, his condition becoming increasingly grave, Frank finally got his new heart on October 25, from a 25-year old Bronx man who had died of an unexplained brain injury.

Said Dr. Mehmet Oz, who performed the surgery along with Bronx-born surgeon Eric Rose: “I thank (the donor’s family) from the bottom of my heart. Frank Torre was going to die.”

“I just got through playing my own World Series,” Frank said after the operation. “My dream has come true. I guess my brother and I are running on the same paths right now as it looks like he’s got a helluva chance for his dream to come true, too.”

The next night, Frank watched his younger brother’s dream come true on TV from his hospital bed as Joe’s Yankees finished off a six-game World Series triumph over the Atlanta Braves at Yankee Stadium, just like in 1958, when the Yankees came back from a 0-2 deficit to beat Frank Torre’s Milwaukee Braves in the Series. “Every time I started feeling nervous,” said Joe, “I thought about Frank, which brought a smile to my face. He was my inspiration.”

In 2006, Frank Torre had another major health scare when his kidneys began failing as a result of the medication he was taking for his heart. Once again, he was in need of an organ transplant and in 2007 he received a new kidney from his daughter, Elizabeth. Through it all, he remained his younger brother’s biggest supporter. When Joe Torre’s relationship with Steinbrenner began to get strained after the Yankees stopped winning championships every year, Frank never failed to speak out in response to the Boss’ criticisms of his brother. A particularly stinging rebuke of The Boss by Frank was in 2005, after the Yankees’ elimination by the Angels. Steinbrenner had pointedly congratulated Angels manager Mike Scioscia and inferred he had out-managed Joe.

“Sit down in a room with him,” Frank told reporters. “If you’ve got complaints with him and you’re unhappy with him and you don’t want him to manage, work that out. Be face-to-face and upfront with my brother.” He then added: “If you don’t think that that was a shot not only at Joe, but the whole Yankee organization…if I was some player who busted my ass even if I lost it would bother me, too. It doesn’t make sense to do that. The backstabbing and all the behind-the-scenes junk that goes on only hurts the organization. It’s almost like people cheering that they don’t do well.”

“Frank taught me everything about baseball,” Joe said in “Chasing the Dream,” his 1997 memoir, “especially how to be a professional.” When the 1996 World Series was over and Steinbrenner asked Torre to help design the championship ring, Joe insisted the words ‘Courage. Tradition. Heart’ be inscribed on it. “It was for the connection my team shared with my two brothers,” he said. “Rocco, how he died, and Frank, how he lives.”

George E. Spencer

Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Sept. 14, 2014

George E. Spencer, age 88, passed away peacefully on September 10, 2014. Preceded in death by his parents Irvin B. and Ethel (Elwell) Spencer, sister Sally (Spencer) Jordan and two infant sons. He is survived by his beloved wife of sixty-eight years, Billie; daughters, Jackie and Lynne; son, Greg and daughter-in-law, Sandy; grandsons, Eric and Bryan; and several nieces.

Born in Bexley, Ohio on July 7, 1926, George graduated from Bexley High School in 1944. He immediately enlisted in the United States Navy, training at the Great Lakes Naval Station where he also played football for Coach Paul Brown. He served in WWII in the Pacific Theatre.

Upon his return, George married his high school sweetheart, Billie Eisele. He attended The Ohio State University where he quarterbacked the football team and pitched for the Buckeye baseball team.

In 1947, George signed his first Major League Baseball contract with the New York Giants. His career was highlighted by helping the Giants defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1951 National League Pennant race, followed by the World Series against the New York Yankees.

In addition to the New York Giants, his seventeen-year playing career as primarily a relief pitcher included time with the Detroit Tigers and a number of minor league teams including the Columbus Jets. George's final years in baseball were spent as a pitching coach for the Detroit Tigers' and Cincinnati Reds' minor league teams and the Ohio State Buckeyes.

In retirement, he managed the Dollar Federal baseball team in the Columbus Night League in the early 1970's as well as the Lancaster Scouts in the Frontier League in 1994. He was also employed by United McGill Corporation and was a member of Sheet Metal Workers Union, Local 98 for twenty-two years.

George remained an avid sports fan all of his life, following Major League Baseball and his beloved Buckeyes. He was proud to have been honored by the Columbus Clippers in Huntington Park.

George remained close friends with his high school buddies all of his life. He enjoyed warm, summer days on the golf course with his son and friends. George especially loved Sunday dinners with his wife and family, laughing and teasing with his daughters and daughter-in-law. His pride and joy were his grandsons, Eric and Bryan.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in George's memory to the Nationwide Children's Hospital or the Coach Carlton Smith Scholarship Fund, c/o Bexley High School, Bexley, Ohio.

A service to celebrate George's life will be held on Tuesday, September 23, 2014, at Forest Lawn Chapel, Forest Lawn Memorial Garden, 5600 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio.

The family will receive friends at 1 p.m. with the service beginning at 2 p.m. Interment will be at a later date.

Holland native George Zuverink, ex-MLB pitcher, dies at 90

By Michael.Appelgate
September 8, 2014 5:40 pm

George Zuverink, a Holland native who pitched in Major League Baseball for parts of eight seasons from 1951-1959, died Monday morning. He was 90.

His wife, Betty, said by phone from her Tempe, Ariz., home Monday afternoon, Zuverink died of complications after fracturing his hip in May. He dislocated it two weeks ago then had pneumonia, she said.

Zuverink was born August 20, 1924, in Holland. He graduated from Holland High School in 1942 then spent three years in the Air Force in the South Pacific. Zuverink played occasional baseball games while serving and was noticed by another airman, who was affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Following his discharge, Zuverink signed a minor league contract with St. Louis, but was released at the end of the 1946 season.
Pitching for the Holland Flying Dutchmen — a semi-pro baseball team — in 1947, Zuverink was unbeaten, recording 13 consecutive victories. In 1948 he signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians, reaching the big leagues in 1951.

Zuverink was 32-36 in his career with four teams — including the Detroit Tigers from 1954-1955 — with a 3.54 earned run average. He appeared in a career-high 62 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 1956 and had 16 saves. Zuverink appeared in 256 total games and started 31.

He also went 9-13 with the Tigers in 1954 and had a 3.59 ERA with 70 strikeouts.

Zuverink’s career ended when he was released by the Orioles in 1959 as he suffered from a shoulder injury.

He and Betty moved to Arizona two years after his baseball career to get away from Michigan’s harsh winters.

George worked in the insurance field after baseball and also was a high school and college baseball and basketball referee.

Zuverink was inducted into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.

Roger McKee

Published in Shelby Star on Sept. 3, 2014

Shelby- Roger Hornsby McKee, age 88, a former Major League Baseball player and sport enthusiast passed away Sept. 1, 2014, at Cleveland Regional Medical Center. Born on Sept, 16, 1926, he was the son of the late Broadus Lee and Gertie Spencer McKee.
He graduated from Shelby High School and attended Southern Business College and Gardner-Webb University. He served in the U. S. Navy in the Pacific and participated in the funeral for FDR.

Roger was a well-known athlete. He pitched baseball for Shelby High School. He led the local American Legion Team to Shelby's first State Championship. He signed a professional contract with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1943 at the age of 16. He appeared as a relief pitcher in several games and shortly after turning 17 he pitched and won a complete game. He holds the record as the youngest winning pitcher in modern baseball. He played pro ball for 14 years. Later Roger served on the baseball coaching staff at Shelby High School and the American Legion team. In 2009 the Philadelphia Phillies honored Roger during the Phillies Alumni weekend.

He retired from the U.S. Postal service after 30 years. Roger served on the Board of Directors for Gardner-Webb University Bulldog Club and the Shelby Parks and Recreational Board. He was a member of First Baptist Church and the Chris White Sunday School Class.

In addition to his parents, Roger is preceded in death by a brother, Bill McKee and a sister Margie McKee Gettys.

Roger is survived by his wife of 70 years, Denice Spangler McKee; a son, Roger McKee, Jr. and wife Barbara of Shelby; a sister, Elissa Bright and husband Glenn of Shelby; two grandsons, Bradford D. McKee and wife Michelle, and Brian P. McKee; and one great grandson, Isaac James McKee.

Visitation: The family will receive friends on Thursday at Cecil M. Burton Funeral Home and Crematory from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. and other times at the home.

Funeral Service: 11 a.m. Friday Sept. 5, 2014, in the Sanctuary of First Baptist Church, with Military Honors.

Officiated By: Rev. Perry Holleman.

Burial: Burial will follow at Double Shoals Baptist Church.

Funeral Home: Cecil M Burton Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the family.

Memorials: Memorials can be made to First Baptist Church 120 N Lafayette St, Shelby, N.C. 28150 or Roger McKee Baseball Scholarship, GWU Attention Becky Robbins, P.O. Box 997, Boiling Springs N.C. 28017.

Richard L. Teed

1926 - 2014

Published in The Hartford Courant on Aug. 20, 2014

Richard L. Teed, 88, of Windsor, beloved husband of the late Virginia (LaBounty) Teed, passed away on Sunday, August 17, 2014 in Newport, Rhode Island.

Dick was born March 8, 1926 in Springfield, MA to the late Leroy and Alice (Lamb) Teed. A lifelong Windsor resident, Dick had been a member of the Wilson Congregational Church. He served his country honorably during World War II with the United States Marine Corps.

Baseball was always a part of Dick's life and he played with some of the greats, including, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson and Tommy Lasorda to name a few.

After his discharge in 1947 he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization and in 1953 he was called up to play with the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1961 he was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies where he coached with manager, Frank Lucchesi.

From 1964-67 he managed in the Phillies organization and in 1968 became a scout for the Phillies. In 1977 he rejoined the Dodgers, now in Los Angeles, as Head Scout for the Northeast Region and remained with them until his retirement in 1994.

In 2001 Dick was inducted into the National Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame at Camden Yards, Baltimore. He was also an inductee to the Windsor High School Hall of Fame. One of Dick's favorite things was teaching young people the sport of baseball.

He is survived by his children, Sharon Johnson and her husband Stephen of Windsor Locks; Susan Johnson and her husband David of Old Lyme; Sandra Stevens of Granville, MA; his brothers, Robert Teed and his wife Ann of Myrtle Beach, SC; William Teed and his wife Carol of Enfield; ten grandchildren, Kelley Barnowski and Ryan Glastein, Bryan Barnowski, Todd Johnson and his wife Sharon, Kate Stopa and her husband Travis, Scott Johnson and his wife Lisa, Lindsey Jones and her husband Paul, Brittany Johnson, Kari Mullins and her husband Chris, Stephanie Johnson and Mark McDonald, Haley Johnson and Collin Henry. He also leaves five great grandchildren, Paige, Parker, Whitney, Tucker and Gavin.

In addition to his wife and parents he was predeceased by his daughter, Shelley Teed and his son-in-law, Steve Stevens.

A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, August 22, 11 a.m. at the Carmon Windsor Funeral Home, 807 Bloomfield Ave., Windsor.

Burial with military honors will immediately follow in Windsor Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

His family will receive friends on Thursday, August 21, from 4-7 p.m. at the funeral home.

Donations in Dick's memory may be made to the Dick Teed Scholarship Foundation, c/o Webster Bank, 176 Broad St., Windsor CT 06095.

Former big-leaguer Jerry Lumpe dies at 81

Kary Booher, News-Leader 9:32 p.m. CDT August 16, 2014

Former big-leaguer Jerry Lumpe, a longtime Springfield resident who was a teammate of New York Yankees great Mickey Mantle after aiding then-Southwest Missouri State College win NAIA national basketball titles, has died. He was 81.

He is survived by his wife, Vivian; their three children, Jerry, Jim and Cece Haden; and several grandchildren.

Lumpe graduated from Warsaw, a small community near what is now Truman Lake, and went on to play 12 seasons in the American League. He played three seasons for the Yankees, from 1956 and 1958, when legendary Casey Stengel managed the club.

"We played American Legion ball against each other. We've been good friends, his family and my family," said former Missouri State basketball coach Bill Thomas, a basketball teammate in the 1950s. "I don't know of anyone who didn't like him. I'm going to miss him."

Lumpe, an infielder, reached the major leagues in 1956, two years after putting his minor league days on hold in order to serve in the military. At one point, he was stationed with future St. Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog at Fort Leonard Wood.

Lumpe's baseball career took off when Stengel ordered Lumpe and Norm Siebern to spring training in 1953, Thomas said. Both players were letterwinners on then-SMS' 1952 and 1953 national championship teams. Lumpe had been signed by legendary Yankees scout Tom Greenwade, the Willard man who also signed Mantle.

"By the time we got to Kansas City to play for the national tournament, coach (Bob) Vanatta called Casey Stengel and said, 'I'd like to keep Jerry awhile,'" Thomas said Saturday. "Casey said, 'You can keep him for a couple of games but we need him down here.'"

The 1953 team beat Indiana State for the championship despite all but four Bears fouling out. A chant "Four Bears cut down five Sycamores" was a popular saying in town, former Missouri State baseball coach and athletic director Bill Rowe said.

Lumpe was the Bears' sixth man on those teams.

"He was a heck of a basketball player. He was as good as anybody on our team," Thomas said. "It's just the way the rotation went that he was on the bench."

Lumpe soon was part of the Yankees' AL pennant winners of 1957 and 1958. The '58 team won the World Series with a roster that included included Yogi Berra, Mantle, Hank Bauer, Whitey Ford, Don Larsen, Elston Howard, Bobby Richardson and Enos Slaughter.

Lumpe split the 1959 season between the Yankees and Kansas City Athletics and played for the A's until 1963. Lumpe finished his career with the Detroit Tigers.

Overall, he batted .268 with 190 doubles, 52 triples, 47 home runs and 454 RBIs. His best season was 1962 in Kansas City, where Lumpe hit .301 and generated 54 extra-base hits and 83 RBIs. He also finished his career with more walks (428) than strikeouts (411).

He made his home for years in Springfield and was a longtime supporter of Bears athletics.

"Tough, tough news," former Missouri State baseball coach and athletic director Bill Rowe said Saturday of Lumpe's death.

Rowe said Lumpe and players from the 1952 and 1953 basketball teams made his job even easier.

"We've had the 40th, 50th and 60th anniversaries of those NAIA teams and I'll never forget the way I got treated. It was like, 'You're a part of us,'" said Rowe, who had watched those teams as a youth from Marionville.

"He's one of the best people we've ever known. He'd do anything for you if wanted it," longtime Springfield resident and former big-leaguer Bill Virdon said of Lumpe on Saturday.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Grand Rapids Hall of Fame athlete Jim Command dies at 85

By Jonathan Van Zytveld
August 12, 2014 at 2:03 PM

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — On Aug. 10, 2014, Jim Command Sr. died of natural causes, following a life of baseball, family and honor.

Born Oct. 15, 1928 in Grand Rapids, James Dalton Command soon acquired a love of sports from his father, Ike, who was a top-flight minor league baseball player, as well as an amateur boxer.

A graduate of Creston High School's Class of 1947, Command made a name for himself at Ferris, where he played basketball for one season, leading the league in scoring and setting the Ferris single season scoring record at that time before signing a professional baseball contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Command's first hit in the major leagues was a grand slam homer, the first and last home run of his major league career, off a throw from Dodgers’ pitching great Carl Erskine in July 1954. The hit flew over the head of Jackie Robinson, who was playing right field, soaring over the wall of Ebbets Field.

It marked the first time since the turn of the century that a major league player’s first hit was a grand slam homer.

The event was significant enough that Erskine recalled it years later when meeting Command's son, Tim, at a luncheon in Anderson, Ind., where Erskine lives.

“When we parted ways, he left me an autographed baseball,” Tim Command told the Grand Rapids Press in 2009. “It was signed: ‘To Tim, I did survive the Grand Slam your Dad hit off me in 1954 — #17 — Carl Erskine.’"

Following his major league career, Command went on to a successful minor league career, playing alongside some of the greats and even catching a few pitches from Satchel Paige.

"He had some incredible stories about all those years, playing against many of the great teams and players of that era, including Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Bob Gibson," Tim Command said.

Throughout Command's 14-year professional baseball career, Tim said his father always returned to Grand Rapids, his lifelong home. In the offseason, Command worked as a salesman at Sullivan's Carpet and Furniture for almost 60 years.

Command scouted for the Detroit Tigers for 34 years, from 1960 to 1994, recruiting the likes of Kirk Gibson and Grand Rapids athletes Mickey Stanley and Dave Rozema. He contributed to two world championship teams and received a world series ring in 1984.

He also coached baseball at Grand Valley State University for three seasons in the 1970s, leading the Lakers to their first conference championship in any sport.

He was inducted into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.

Bob Sullivan, Grand Rapids baseball and business icon, a 1976 Hall of Fame inductee, worked, played and scouted alongside Command for decades.

"There was no better person than Jim," Sullivan said. "He was a great person and I couldn't say a single bad thing about him. Everything he did was just lovable."

Sullivan said Command called him weekly to talk and discuss baseball.

"Myself, my family and all my employees will miss him, if nothing else for his conversations," Sullivan said.

Command is preceded in death by his wife, Paula. Surviving him are his seven children: sons Jim Jr., Mike, Paul, Ted and Tim; and daughters Judy and Meredith Daniel; as well as 16 grandchildren.

"He was an amazing father, as well as a loving husband and grandfather," Tim Command said.

"The best thing I can say of him was that I never heard anyone say a negative thing about him in his entire life, and I'm not sure how many people can say that."

Visitation will be on Friday, 2-4 p.m. 6-8 p.m., at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Funeral Home, 3980 Cascade Road SE. The funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. at St. Alphonsus Parish, 224 Carrier St. NE. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the St. Alphonsus food pantry.

Robert G. Wiesler
August 13, 1930 - August 10, 2014

Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Aug. 12, 2014

Wiesler, Robert G., Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. Baptized into the Hope of Christ's Resurrection.

Beloved husband of the late Irene M. Wiesler (nee Grossmann). Dear father of Vickie (Doug) Buehler, Robert, Kevin (Jill) and Karen Wiesler; dear grandfather of Joshua, Jennifer, Cory, John, Sam and Marc. dear great grandfather of Reagan; dear brother, uncle, cousin and friend.

Funeral from Hutchens Mortuary, 675 Graham Rd., Florissant 9:15 AM, Thursday, Aug, 14 to St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church for 10 AM Mass.

Interment Calvary Cemetery.

Visitation 3-9 PM, Wed., Aug. 13 at Hutchens Mortuary.

In lieu of flowers, contributions to the American Heart Assoc. or American Diabetes Assoc.

UW legend Robert 'Red' Wilson dies at age 85

By Dennis Semrau
Wisconsin State Journal
August 08, 2014 6:00 pm

Longtime Madison resident Robert “Red” Wilson, a former University of Wisconsin football and baseball star who went on to success in the major leagues, passed away on Friday morning at Agrace Hospice in Madison. He was 85.

Wilson was a longtime member of the Dug Out Club, which served as booster club for the now-defunct UW baseball program and now promotes baseball at all levels in the Madison area.

Dug Out Club president Tom Bennett notified club members of Wilson's passing in an email early Friday afternoon. Wilson's son, Jim, also a former Badgers baseball player, is an assistant baseball coach at Madison Edgewood High School and a member of the Dug Out Club.

Red Wilson made his major league debut with the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 22, 1951, and played his last game with the Cleveland Indians on Sept. 24, 1960.

Wilson was born in Milwaukee in 1929 and attended UW where he was a star football player for the Badgers. Wilson won Most Valuable Player honor as the center for the Badgers in 1947 and '48. He was also an all-Big Ten Conference center in 1947. In his senior year, 1949, Wilson was the team captain and won the Big Ten Most Valuable Player award as an end.

Wilson also led the Badgers baseball team in batting, hitting .342 and .426 in 1948 and '49, respectively. He led the Badgers to a 17–7 record and a berth in the 1950 College World Series. Wilson graduated from UW in 1951 as an insurance major.

Wilson was selected in the fourth round of the 1950 NFL draft as the 52nd pick overall by the Cleveland Browns, but he elected to play baseball after college. He was signed by the White Sox as an amateur free agent in 1950 and primarily played catcher during his 10-year major league career.

He played in 85 games for the White Sox from 1951 to '53. In May 1954, Wilson was traded to the Detroit Tigers, where he played from 1954 to '60. Wilson ended his career with the Indians in 1960.

Wilson's best season was 1958 when he played in career-high 103 games, had a .299 batting average and a .373 on-base percentage. He also stole 10 bases. On July 20 of that year, he caught Jim Bunning's no-hitter.

He played in 602 major league games, including 580 as a catcher and hit .258. He was selected in 1960 by the expansion Los Angeles Angels but he opted to retire.

After his playing career ended, Wilson was a founder and president of the Westgate Bank in Madison and was president of the Wisconsin Alumni Association from 1971 to 1972.

He was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.

David Lee Bakenhaster

Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Aug. 1, 2014

David Lee Bakenhaster, age 69, of Galena, OH, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. Retired from Exel Logistics after 35 years of service. Graduate of Dublin High School, Class of 1963 where he was an All-State Baseball Pitcher.

David was the #1 overall draft pick in 1963 and enjoyed his 10 year baseball career with the St. Louis Cardinals. Veteran U.S. Army.

Preceded in death by parents James Montford and Lora (Jenkins) Bakenhaster, brothers Paul, Bill and Charlie. Survived by loving wife of 39 years, Kay Harr Bakenhaster; and Dennis "Bo" Bakenhaster his nephew/son.

He will be greatly missed by his sisters, Geneva Hunt and Norma Bricker; brothers, Walter and Ronnie; many nieces and nephews.

Friends may call 6-8 p.m. Friday, August 1, 2014 at Kauber-Sammons Funeral Home, 289 S. Main Street, Pataskala, OH 43062, where Funeral Service will be held 10 a.m. Saturday.

Interment Jersey Universalist Cemetery.

Pastor Gary Kirk officiating.

Contributions may be made to American Cancer Society , 870 Michigan Ave., Columbus, OH 43215 in David's memory.