baseball obituaries 2018

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Former Padres and Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 30 January 2018 17:21 (one year ago) Permalink

As mid-'70s iconic as Elton John or Patty Hearst or anybody.

clemenza, Wednesday, 31 January 2018 22:48 (one year ago) Permalink

Very nice piece by the guy who wrote Big Hair and Plastic Grass.

Oscar's immortal quote, "They don't think it be like it is, but it do," was in reference to the insanity and dysfunction of the Yankees clubhouse under George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin.

clemenza, Thursday, 1 February 2018 00:26 (one year ago) Permalink

“It be like it is” > “It is what it is”

Andy K, Thursday, 1 February 2018 03:59 (one year ago) Permalink

^ video from that link. looking at his initial stance (mentioned in the link) it makes me thing of the truism (?) that most major leaguers end up in the same place before they swing

YouTube_-_funy_cats.flv (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Thursday, 1 February 2018 05:01 (one year ago) Permalink

My favorite story about the ufortunately late Oscar Gamble was when he popped up and his manager reminded him every player was supposed to take the first pitch unless there were a runner in scoring positon. "When I'm in the batter's box," replied Oscar, "I'm in scoring position."

— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) February 1, 2018

Andy K, Thursday, 1 February 2018 12:21 (one year ago) Permalink

Wally Moon, Cards/Dodgers slugger who was NL ROY in 1954

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Monday, 12 February 2018 15:55 (one year ago) Permalink

tito francona, 84

mookieproof, Wednesday, 14 February 2018 16:07 (one year ago) Permalink

Jack Hamilton, pitcher 1962-69, who fatefully hit Tony Conigliaro.

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Monday, 26 February 2018 21:43 (one year ago) Permalink

Sammy Stewart, pitcher 1978-87, who spiraled into addiction and prison

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 7 March 2018 17:12 (one year ago) Permalink

Charles was always eager to talk about his brushes with Jackie Robinson, starting with the sighting in Daytona Beach in 1946.

Charles also recounted a story of how he later spotted Robinson, who was by then on the Brooklyn Dodgers’ roster, on a train.

The Dodgers were in Florida playing an exhibition, and Charles and several friends “peered through openings in the fence,” he recalled in “Carrying Jackie’s Torch: The Players Who Integrated Baseball — and America,” by Steve Jacobson (2007).

After the game, the Dodgers prepared to leave from the railroad station.

“So now we’re walking down the platform, looking in the windows trying to see where Jackie was seated,” Charles said. “Finally we come to the right coach, and there is Jackie, playing cards. We waved and, you know, he waved back to us.”

“Then the train starts pulling out,” he went on, “and we start slowly walking with it, just waving to Jackie. The train picked up speed. We kept running and waving till the train got out of sight.”

“Things like that, you know, I can recall so vividly,” he said, “because they were very special moments in my life and in the life of the country. It was like the Messiah had come.”

mookieproof, Friday, 16 March 2018 21:59 (one year ago) Permalink

le grand orange, 73

mookieproof, Thursday, 29 March 2018 14:27 (one year ago) Permalink

Oh damn, that's gonna put a damper on things in Queens.

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 29 March 2018 14:45 (one year ago) Permalink

I remember Staub mostly in his later days mostly pinch hitting for the Mets. I seem to remember him being a tough out as with that choked up batting stance he seemed to be able to foul off tough pitches at will.

earlnash, Friday, 30 March 2018 19:04 (one year ago) Permalink

Carl Scheib, who debuted pitching for the Philadelphia A's at 16 in 1943

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 7 April 2018 05:40 (one year ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Dave Garcia, baseball lifer

When David was 11, his father died, and his mother went to work in a shirt factory to support her five children. He helped out by selling newspapers in downtown East St. Louis.

Garcia signed a contract with the St. Louis Browns in 1938. Sent to its minor-league team in Springfield, Ill., he was hit in the head by a pitch and did not return to play for more than a year. He subsequently tore up a knee while playing in Lake Charles, La., and broke a leg in Eau Claire, Wis. ...

Finally healthy, he had a strong season in 1947 with the Sioux City Soos, then took on the dual roles of player and manager, first with the Knoxville Smokies in Tennessee 1948 and then the Oshkosh Giants from 1949 to ’53.

...A hard-hitting second baseman in the 1940s and ’50s, Garcia managed many of the teams he played for. But Major League Baseball was not calling him. So, with his family growing, he retired as a player-manager and moved into scouting — then returned to managing in the minor leagues, adding Fresno, Calif., and Salt Lake City to his late-1960s travels.

But as he entered his 50th year, the majors finally beckoned. The San Diego Padres hired him as a coach in 1970, a stint that he followed with two managing jobs: first with the California Angels and then with the Cleveland Indians.

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Monday, 28 May 2018 12:42 (one year ago) Permalink

'71 WS is the first i remember watching, RIP

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 3 June 2018 01:40 (one year ago) Permalink

Kison's big game wasn't quite my first WS game, but close--remember that more than I remember '70. Kind of amazed he was still there in '79.

clemenza, Sunday, 3 June 2018 03:18 (one year ago) Permalink

Red Schoendienst, at 95

WilliamC, Thursday, 7 June 2018 01:26 (one year ago) Permalink

rip Red

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 7 June 2018 01:54 (one year ago) Permalink

best strike call

mookieproof, Tuesday, 19 June 2018 10:16 (eleven months ago) Permalink

didn't hit the big leagues til he was about 43

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 19 June 2018 11:21 (eleven months ago) Permalink

The Hall of Fame remembers former @Pirates first baseman and longtime trainer Tony Bartirome, who passed away on Friday.

— Baseball Hall ⚾ (@baseballhall) June 26, 2018

mookieproof, Tuesday, 26 June 2018 18:05 (eleven months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Johnny Lewis, who played with the Cardinals and Mets from 1964-67

Karl Malone, Monday, 30 July 2018 01:01 (ten months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

John Kennedy, utility infielder for the Senators, Red Sox, and '69 Seattle Pilots

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 14 August 2018 16:10 (ten months ago) Permalink

Looks like there are a lot of references to Kennedy in Ball Four though I don't have a copy here.

timellison, Tuesday, 14 August 2018 18:31 (ten months ago) Permalink

i was gonna ask... i remember the tail end of his career, but not if Bouton wrote about him.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 14 August 2018 18:34 (ten months ago) Permalink

Aaron Cox (Mike Trout's brother-in-law), retired minor league pitcher passed away at age 24.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 15 August 2018 18:24 (ten months ago) Permalink

I often want to locate a quote in Ball Four and bemoan the lack of an index.

clemenza, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 18:31 (ten months ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

loooong-time scout don welke, 75. 50 years in baseball, most recently with the padres

Don Welke, the veteran baseball man, was the scout who convinced Blue Jays to draft a Flint, Mich. high school left-hander in 1985. The final words of a very thorough report: "Has no right hand." (Jim Abbott went to Michigan instead.)

— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) September 20, 2018

mookieproof, Thursday, 20 September 2018 18:45 (eight months ago) Permalink

Peter Bjarkman, historian of Cuban baseball, pioneer and pal, died suddenly yesterday, of a heart attack in Havana. I will miss him.

— John Thorn (@thorn_john) October 2, 2018

mookieproof, Tuesday, 2 October 2018 16:10 (eight months ago) Permalink

Saw him at SABR in NYC last year. This year's Cuba Ball tour just concluded, he must've been visiting with it.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 2 October 2018 16:18 (eight months ago) Permalink

new york times scribe dave anderson, who was the last writer to leave the ebbets field press box

mookieproof, Thursday, 4 October 2018 20:37 (eight months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

longtime giants broadcaster hank greenwald, 83

mookieproof, Tuesday, 23 October 2018 18:42 (seven months ago) Permalink

former pitcher/longtime pitching coach bill fischer, 88

in 1962 he threw a record 84 1/3 consecutive innings (for the kansas city athletics) without issuing a walk

The Royals are saddened to announce the passing of Senior Pitching Advisor Bill Fischer. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Fish touched so many lives during his career, not only with the Royals, but through his eight decades in pro baseball.

— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) October 31, 2018

mookieproof, Wednesday, 31 October 2018 16:19 (seven months ago) Permalink

It is with great sadness that we announce that San Francisco Giants Legend and Hall of Famer Willie McCovey passed away peacefully this afternoon at the age of 80 after losing his battle with ongoing health issues. #Forever44 | #SFGiants

— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) October 31, 2018

Willie McCovey, 80

Karl Malone, Thursday, 1 November 2018 00:13 (seven months ago) Permalink

mookieproof, Thursday, 7 February 2019 19:43 (four months ago) Permalink


omar little, Thursday, 7 February 2019 19:49 (four months ago) Permalink

I once told Frank Robinson I was at Fenway in 1970 when he made great extra-inning catch in RF. “Yeah, and the next day I hit back-to-back grand slams off a couple of Joes,” he said. Thought it was a baseball term. Nope: He hit ‘em off Joe Coleman, Joe Grzenda on June 26, 1970.

— Steve Buckley (@BuckinBoston) February 7, 2019

mookieproof, Thursday, 7 February 2019 21:30 (four months ago) Permalink

ha! that's a good story. RIP Frank Robinson. one of my earliest baseball memories was a book about the players who had hit the most home runs, so i was aware of him from an early age and always think of the number 475 whenever he was mentioned. it wasn't til later that i appreciated what a well rounded player he was, and his groundbreaking status as the first black manager in MLB.

Karl Malone, Thursday, 7 February 2019 21:55 (four months ago) Permalink

er....586. 475 was musial and stargell. shit, i'm starting to lose my baseball stat knowledge.

Karl Malone, Thursday, 7 February 2019 21:57 (four months ago) Permalink

saw Frank play in his single year with the Dodgers, 1972

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 7 February 2019 22:09 (four months ago) Permalink

i still remember from my first MLB book the top ten HR hitters: Aaron, Ruth, Mays, Robinson, Killebrew, Jackson, Schmidt, Mantle, Foxx, McCovey.

omar little, Thursday, 7 February 2019 22:15 (four months ago) Permalink

I have this loose definition of "sporting god" when I try to think of which ones are still alive. Basically the inner-inner circle HOF'ers whose peak years were in the '50s and '60s, before television and big-money skyrocketed (e.g.: Unitas, Bill Russell, Howe). Robinson fits the definition. Mays, Aaron, Koufax, Jim Brown, Palmer, Nicklaus...the list continues to dwindle; I'm guessing there are under 10 still around.

clemenza, Thursday, 7 February 2019 23:51 (four months ago) Permalink

I don't think Eckerskey gets the point being made here.

clemenza, Friday, 8 February 2019 18:17 (four months ago) Permalink

Bob Gibson: "As a rule, I'm reluctant to express admiration for hitters, but I make an exception for Frank Robinson."

clemenza, Friday, 8 February 2019 18:20 (four months ago) Permalink

xpost as the article mentioned, it wasn't misunderstanding the point that was the problem, it was the timing:

The immediate aftermath of Robinson's passing might not have been the best time for this discussion, though.

Karl Malone, Friday, 8 February 2019 18:37 (four months ago) Permalink

I remember my dad was at this Giants-Mets game at Shea Stadium, and loved Frank's hard-ass attitude:

"A passage in The Baseball Codes describes Giants reliever Jim Barr, upset at being pulled from a game by manager Frank Robinson in 1983:

Frustrated, Barr didn’t wait for his manager to reach the mound before flipping him the ball—a clear act of insolence in the hard-edged presence of Robinson, who made it clear to his pitchers that they were to hand him the ball as they departed.

Barr planned on storming to the dugout, but was interrupted when Robinson caught the baseball, grabbed the pitcher by the arm as he tried to pass, spun him around, and dragged him back up the hill to await (reliever Greg) Minton’s arrival. Robinson had been the league’s most fiery player, and his managerial furnace burned nearly as hot.

As the duo waited for Minton to arrive, Robinson told Barr exactly what he thought of his stunt, poking a finger into the right-hander’s chest to emphasize his point. . . . On the mound at Shea, it was hard to miss the battle brewing, and the New York fans looked on in delight. All four members of the Giants infield raced in and surrounded the pair in an attempt to calm things down.

Barr didn’t help matters when he decided that if he wasn’t allowed to leave until Robinson gave him permission, he wouldn’t leave at all. This meant that when Minton arrived at the mound he found two people, Robinson and Barr, standing between himself and the catcher, which made it somewhat difficult to warm up. “It seemed like five minutes,” said Barr, “even though it was probably only ninety seconds.” Robinson finally led Barr back to the dugout, at which point both pitcher and manager had to be restrained from going after each other."

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 8 February 2019 18:47 (four months ago) Permalink

(xpost) I now see that...Robinson's '66 MVP/Triple Crown is a large part of his legend. If you've got a statistical tool that casts doubt on the MVP-worthiness of that season (and I don't mean for this to be an anti-WAR thing, not at all), I don't think there's anything wrong with saying no, he was indeed the league's MVP that year, and saying so on the day of Robinson's death. I often flinch at some of the nasty things that get posted about people the day they die, but this seems to me to be the opposite of that.

clemenza, Friday, 8 February 2019 19:00 (four months ago) Permalink

says something about how much baseball has changed: I'd never heard of Jim Barr, but he threw 64 CG and 20 shutouts in his career. He started 252. while Justin Verlander (to cite one example) has thrown 24 CG and 8 shutouts and started 419. Fellow deserved future HOFer Max Scherzer's career totals of 10 and 5 in those categories fall just shy of Barr's 11 and 5 in 1974.

omar little, Friday, 8 February 2019 20:41 (four months ago) Permalink

One last thing I came across: in his first AB in his first game as player-manager, Robinson homered.

clemenza, Tuesday, 12 February 2019 00:30 (four months ago) Permalink

don newcombe, 92

mookieproof, Tuesday, 19 February 2019 18:57 (three months ago) Permalink

great pitcher for a minute. his military service maybe caused him to miss out on the HOF? Might be a stretch, but he wound up missing two years and there was a third where he scuffled upon his return back. Bookended by 19 & 20 win seasons before he left, and 20 and 27 win seasons once he regained his form. Could have finished with over 200 wins and made a better case for enshrinement.

omar little, Tuesday, 19 February 2019 19:04 (three months ago) Permalink

Erskine is the last Brooklyn star left.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 19 February 2019 19:14 (three months ago) Permalink

i don't think newcombe has much of a HoF case stats-wise, but winning a RoY/Cy/MVP and having songs written about him as the first (?) black pitching star goes a long way imo

mookieproof, Tuesday, 19 February 2019 19:37 (three months ago) Permalink

well, Satchel Paige became an MLB star a hair earlier, no?

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 19 February 2019 19:38 (three months ago) Permalink

i don't really know how paige was thought of at the time, but i think his MLB career was mostly a footnote -- he was already in his 40s, didn't start many games, didn't play for marquee teams

mookieproof, Tuesday, 19 February 2019 19:50 (three months ago) Permalink

well yeah the thing is Paige was already a legend when he put the Cleveland uni on.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 19 February 2019 20:13 (three months ago) Permalink

There are a lot of things that made Don Newcombe awesome, but my favorite baseball thing is probably him going to Japan, at 36, as an outfielder, and slugging .473 for Chunichi.

— Kevin Goldstein (@Kevin_Goldstein) February 19, 2019

mookieproof, Tuesday, 19 February 2019 20:37 (three months ago) Permalink

damn, RIP don newcombe. :(

Karl Malone, Tuesday, 19 February 2019 20:49 (three months ago) Permalink

Paige appeared w/ CLE in '48, but was not used consistently as a starter as Newk would be the next year, as mook said. Started 7 games, threw 2 shutouts, relieved 14 times, plus got 2 outs in the World Series.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 20 February 2019 04:59 (three months ago) Permalink

growing up in the NYC area, read a lot about Newcombe in the papers and The Boys of Summer in the early '70s, around Jackie's death. As one did, since most of the writers had covered the departed teams.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 20 February 2019 05:05 (three months ago) Permalink

boston globe writer nick cafardo, 62, died today at the red sox's spring training park in fort myers

mookieproof, Thursday, 21 February 2019 21:06 (three months ago) Permalink

For the past 34 years, one guy who was always terrific and on top of it, always worth a giggle, as well as a meaningful phone call, and who always was the best of professionals and colleagues, was Nick Cafardo. And I am sick to my stomach and going for a long, long walk.

— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) February 21, 2019

Andy K, Thursday, 21 February 2019 21:15 (three months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

It is with a heavy heart to report that former #PeoriaRedwings catcher, Terry Donahue passed away last night at the age of 93. She was one of the Canadians who came south to play in the #AAGPBL from 1946 - '49. Please keep her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

— AAGPBL Official (@AAGPBL) March 15, 2019

mookieproof, Friday, 15 March 2019 18:50 (three months ago) Permalink

RIP Chuck Harmon, 94, African American baseball pioneer who broke the color barrier for the Cincinnati @Reds in 1954. He was also a basketball star at @ToledoMBB who played and coached hoops professionally. Read his #SABR bio:

— SABR (@sabr) March 20, 2019

mookieproof, Wednesday, 20 March 2019 18:39 (two months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

bill buckner

mookieproof, Monday, 27 May 2019 20:46 (three weeks ago) Permalink


a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 27 May 2019 20:59 (three weeks ago) Permalink

In a statement, Mookie Wilson says he and the late Bill Buckner developed a friendship that lasted over 30 years. The two will forever be linked in history.

"Bill was a great, great baseball player whose legacy should not be defined by one play," Wilson said.

— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) May 27, 2019

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 27 May 2019 21:33 (three weeks ago) Permalink

When we started on our fourth day of provincial grade 3 testing this today, it became evident, after about five minutes, that I had totally messed up the first two days. They were supposed to do two language sections last Tuesday; they did one. Two more on Wednesday; they did one. You'd think I would have figured out that something was amiss--both days I was in the staff room complaining about how much time they'd been given to do so little. I had to call the principal to my room this morning: "Um, I've got an emergency."

My little tribute to you, BB.

(I'm being unfair, I know--he was a good hitter who, because of the era he played in, was sometimes mistakenly viewed as a great hitter.)

clemenza, Monday, 27 May 2019 21:45 (three weeks ago) Permalink

On Sunday, the last full day of Bill Buckner's life, 16 major leaguers struck out at least three times. Buckner played 22 seasons and never did it once.

— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) May 27, 2019

mookieproof, Monday, 27 May 2019 22:05 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Some of my earliest childhood memories of watching baseball was Jack Brickhouse announcing "Billy Buck" lining frozen ropes down the right field line in Wrigley.

If you watched Bill Buckner play much, you would obviously see a guy that maximized his skills and with the 2 days of stubble on top of the handlebar mustache and eye black, the guy had the clutch hustler dirty uniform look down that fans come to love. On top of this, by all counts his knees were totally screwed and he pretty much played over a decade on bad legs.

To err is human and Bill Buckner seemed to be a decent human being pretty well centered considering having to deal with that World Series play.

Bob Stanley and Calvin Schraldi should have thanked Buckner for years that most fans probably outside Boston forgot their part in the Red Sox collapse.

earlnash, Monday, 27 May 2019 22:33 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Right--Buckner's error let in the winning run in a game that had already become a nightmare. The sequence before the error--singles by Carter, Mitchell, and Knight, then the wild pitch--was the real catastrophe (something I thought at the time).

clemenza, Monday, 27 May 2019 23:18 (three weeks ago) Permalink

I watched that ending happen and it was craziest end to any playoff sporting event to that point I had ever seen.* One thing that would be interesting to see is the odds of winning the game and how it changed play by play. That type of graph is pretty easy to find these days, but I have never seen it for that game.

Less talked about than the Cubs/Marlins game, I think the Rangers collapse against the Cardinals being down to the last strike lord knows how many times to win the series in 2011 was pretty awful. It doesn't have that iconic play, but it was just as big a a belly flop failure.

*I'd say for mid-80s, Flutie's BC hail mary against Miami and NC State's tip in against Phi Slamma Jamma were pretty unexpected too. I seem to remember the Dwight Clark catch being a bigger deal after the Sports Illustrated magazine came out with that amazing picture than when it happened in some ways. I do kinda remember Reggie's 3HR game in the World Series, but was too young for Fisk's HR.

earlnash, Tuesday, 28 May 2019 00:18 (three weeks ago) Permalink

if you scroll down a bit, you can find a win expectancy graph for the game here:

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 28 May 2019 00:23 (three weeks ago) Permalink

It doesn't have that iconic play

a lot of cardinals fans would point to the david freese walk-off HR

i will never make a typo ever again (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 28 May 2019 00:24 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Fully aware of Buckner's limitations, the strikeout contrasts to today really are amazing. From Posnanski:

In 1980, the year Buckner led the league in batting, he came to the plate 615 times. He struck out 18 of them.

Bryce Harper has struck out 19 times in the last two weeks.

Joey Gallo struck out 207 times in 2018.

Bill Buckner struck out 205 times in the 1970s. The whole decade.

clemenza, Tuesday, 28 May 2019 13:48 (three weeks ago) Permalink

(I will preemptively add that no, I would not take Buckner over Harper--obviously.)

clemenza, Tuesday, 28 May 2019 13:59 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Bob Stanley and Calvin Schraldi should have thanked Buckner for years that most fans probably outside Boston forgot their part in the Red Sox collapse.

i never actually saw the BB misplay at first. as i have probably recounted here somewhere, i was already lying flat on my back, staring up at the ceiling, as a result of the hits and of schiraldi. for me, it was already all over. it was so obviously all slipping away. my dad had to come back to the bedroom and gently break it to me what had happened. it barely registered. i already knew, somehow.

Lil' Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 28 May 2019 14:09 (three weeks ago) Permalink

What I remember most, besides Mookie Wilson barely fouling off a few pitches before the grounder, is that with one out, I think, NBC announced that Boston's Marty Barrett was the World Series MVP.

Also when the Mets won, my dad and I didn't celebrate, but just stared at each other; we couldn't believe it.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 28 May 2019 14:16 (three weeks ago) Permalink

that book about the '70s Texas teams Seasons in Hell is a doozy

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 10 June 2019 15:21 (one week ago) Permalink

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