baseball obituaries 2020

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dang, i just saw this. here's jaffe's piece:

But guess what? Nobody gives a toot!😂 (Karl Malone), Friday, 3 January 2020 15:51 (one year ago) link

ed sprague sr, 74

pretty bad pitcher, apart from a solid 1974 campaign with milwaukee

was the orioles scout who signed mike mussina

mookieproof, Friday, 10 January 2020 17:04 (one year ago) link

Jr. hit a very memorable WS home run.

clemenza, Friday, 10 January 2020 18:26 (one year ago) link

Royals owner/Walmart boss David Glass

(yeah, meh)

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 22 January 2020 15:20 (one year ago) link

Just spoke with Mets star Jeff McNeil, who played for John Altobelli, one of the victims of the Calabasas helicopter crash, who managed Brewster in the Cape Cod League in 2012.

Said McNeil: "He's one of the main reasons I’m still playing professional baseball.”

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 26, 2020

mookieproof, Monday, 27 January 2020 01:11 (one year ago) link

roger kahn, author of 'the boys of summer', 92

mookieproof, Friday, 7 February 2020 17:12 (one year ago) link

RIP Rog, even tho ten was probably a little young for me to read the book

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 8 February 2020 04:45 (one year ago) link

I really need to read "The Boys of Summer" again after 30 years.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Monday, 10 February 2020 09:12 (one year ago) link

japanese legend katsuya nomura, 84

catcher who played 26 seasons, hitting .277/.357/.508 with 657 homers (second to oh). also managed for 24 years

mookieproof, Wednesday, 12 February 2020 03:18 (one year ago) link

tony fernandez, 57

mookieproof, Sunday, 16 February 2020 07:35 (one year ago) link

He was so good his first couple of seasons; looked like he was going to be right up there with Ripken and Yount before long. (Probably less impressive analytically, but that was barely around then.) He never stayed at that level, but he had a long, solid career, and his return to the Jays for the '93 WS team was great. So young.

clemenza, Sunday, 16 February 2020 13:04 (one year ago) link

Forgot he was the fourth player in the Carter/Alomar for McGriff/Fernandez trade in 1990. Has there been a bigger-name trade since? I know Alomar hadn't flourished yet, but James had already identified him as a future superstar--I still remember his Alomar entry in The Baseball Book a year or two earlier, where he wrote "GET ROBERTO ALOMAR" whether you were a fantasy player or card collector or whatever. So you had Alomar, one of the 10 best hitters in the game in McGriff, the wildly-overrated-in-retrospect but big-name and big-RBI-guy Carter, and Fernandez, who was still thought of as a possible/probable Hall of Famer. Don't recall a bigger one since, or at least not between two teams--there've been some multi-team transactions along those lines.

clemenza, Sunday, 16 February 2020 16:52 (one year ago) link

Yeah three guys who at their peaks were HOF type talents (one already in, one who will be, and a third in Fernandez who despite maybe never reaching his potential finished with an impressive career WAR due to those early seasons and late career renaissance) and a fourth who was not great but a solid bat in his best years.

omar little, Sunday, 16 February 2020 18:21 (one year ago) link

So young, I didn't know he was sick. I always think of him as the 22 year old phenom and potential best SS in the game from the '85 division winners. Many people probably remember him as the guy whose error might have given away the '97 WS. Each of his stints with the Jays was memorable in some way. He's one of my favourite players ever and I'm really sorry to hear of his passing.

And yes, that 1990 trade was perhaps the last of its kind. It wasn't about big market vs small market teams, or trying to get value for players before they test free agency, or tanking/rebuilding to prepare for the future. It was a straight up challenge trade of four star players. There may never be another one like it again.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Sunday, 16 February 2020 18:46 (one year ago) link

And there was a perfect symmetry to the trade in that the Jays got the best and the least of the four, and the Padres got the middle two guys--things could have gone either way, and if Alomar hadn't developed (which in turn got the Jays over the hump, which brought in Winfield and Molitor, all of which made Carter look better than he was), it could have been a terrible trade for Toronto.

clemenza, Sunday, 16 February 2020 18:54 (one year ago) link

Olerud being able to replace McGriff was a big part of that deal too. iirc he went straight from collage ball to the majors. that aspect was definitely a risk aswell.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Sunday, 16 February 2020 21:21 (one year ago) link

orrin freeman, who had been a scout/farm director/special assistant to the gm for the marlins since their inception in 1991

mookieproof, Friday, 21 February 2020 21:56 (one year ago) link

yankees' kelly rodman, one of very few female scouts in the game

not sure of the cause, but she was only ~40

mookieproof, Wednesday, 4 March 2020 19:29 (one year ago) link

three weeks pass...

Jimmy Wynn was posted in the ILX thread, but he should get one here too.

I was a full-fledged Reds fan by '74, so I remember the phenomenal start the Dodgers had that year.

end of April: 17-6
end of May: 36-14
end of June: 52-24

Still, the Reds almost caught them, only finishing 4.0 out (they were within a game-and-a-half on Sept. 14). I thought Wynn had the same kind of start, but not quite: phenomenal May, surrounded by three good but not spectacular months (and a slow August/September). Really good year overall, though (it was a pitcher's year, I think), and he was 5th in MVP voting, finishing well ahead of winner Garvey and runner-up Brock in WAR (and basically tied with Bench, who finished 4th). Weird: spending the bulk of his career in the Astrodome and Chez Ravine, I just assumed he got killed by his home parks, but for his career he was .256/.376/.443 at home, .245/.355/.429 on the road. One of the great nicknames ever, and one of those guys who was a walking machine before anybody cared.

clemenza, Friday, 27 March 2020 14:04 (one year ago) link

RIP Toy Cannon

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Friday, 27 March 2020 22:32 (one year ago) link

We mourn the death of Ed Farmer who passed away Wednesday night.

Farmer worked as a radio broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox for nearly 30 years, played 11 seasons in the major leagues, including three with his hometown White Sox, and was a strong advocate for organ donation.

— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 2, 2020

mookieproof, Thursday, 2 April 2020 14:27 (one year ago) link

That's a big one. As I just posted on Facebook, though, of all the famous HOF'ers who played most of their careers in the '60s, I have less of a sense of Kaline than any of them.

clemenza, Monday, 6 April 2020 20:58 (one year ago) link

I remember seeing him on TV at the end of his career.

per Ben Lindbergh on EW, Kaline had the most career HR (399) w/out ever hitting 30 in a year.

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 7 April 2020 14:19 (one year ago) link

There is a lot of love coming out in the articles about Al Kaline, that guy seems to have been well liked by seemingly everyone. I knew him from baseball cards as a kid, but that he was supposed to be the real deal as a player good all the way around.

earlnash, Tuesday, 7 April 2020 16:40 (one year ago) link

the most career HR (399) w/out ever hitting 30 in a year

I'd say that pinpoints his relative anonymity outside of Detroit better than anything.

clemenza, Tuesday, 7 April 2020 17:45 (one year ago) link

(By which I mean next to Mays, Aaron, Clemente, Yaz, etc.)

clemenza, Tuesday, 7 April 2020 17:46 (one year ago) link

Yaz is a pretty good comparison in a lot of ways -- Kaline didn't have nearly the same peak, but both spent most of their career operating not at that superstar peak but at a slightly lower tier of stardom in terms of production. Similar to Cal Ripken and Brett, I guess -- a couple other members of the 20+ seasons with one team club. Kaline also didn't have the same level of fame as any of those guys, probably just a matter of him not having a single season with truly eye-popping counting stats.

disappointing that he never played catcher even for just an inning, would have been cool for Al Kaline to be part of a battery.

omar little, Tuesday, 7 April 2020 18:30 (one year ago) link


mookieproof, Tuesday, 7 April 2020 18:33 (one year ago) link

No dad jokes on the obit thread?

I was going to say he was one of the few players of his caliber where it could be argued his best season was his first full one, but his age 20 season (didn’t turn 21 til December of that year) was actually his second full one.

omar little, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 00:53 (one year ago) link

no, it was solid

tbf, he made 18 all-star games, so *someone* recognized he was good

mookieproof, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 01:45 (one year ago) link

I quoted the battery line on Facebook!

clemenza, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 02:22 (one year ago) link

Kaline was definitely highly thought of by other players. All-Star voting wasn't handed over to fans until 1970; I assume all those AS appearances were voted on by players?

clemenza, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 02:26 (one year ago) link

Brooks Robinson said he was the best he played against

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 8 April 2020 11:18 (one year ago) link

gen believed he forsook some power for average and walks

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 8 April 2020 11:18 (one year ago) link

Al Kaline’s family put a “regular” obit in the Sunday @freep. By blending in, it’s an example of how one-of-a-kind he really was.

— Matt Friedman (@mattfrieds) April 12, 2020

Andy K, Sunday, 12 April 2020 16:06 (one year ago) link

Glenn Beckert:

One of those random stats that will stick in my mind forever: he hit .340 one year, when Rod Carew was the only second baseman who did that. (Okay, I checked--.342.)

clemenza, Monday, 13 April 2020 00:49 (one year ago) link

hank steinbrenner, 63, non-covid-related

mookieproof, Tuesday, 14 April 2020 14:59 (one year ago) link

Within a few months of Tony Fernandez, Dámaso García.

clemenza, Wednesday, 15 April 2020 18:30 (one year ago) link

RIP I remember being super bummed as a 9 or 10-yr old when he was included in that Chambliss trade

And being down on Rick Cerone

Yanni Xenakis (Hadrian VIII), Wednesday, 15 April 2020 21:40 (one year ago) link

Steve Dalkowski, a wild left-hander who was said to have been dubbed "the fastest pitcher in baseball history" by Ted Williams, died this week in New Britain, Connecticut. He was 80.

Dalkowski, who once struck out 24 batters in a minor league game -- and walked 18 -- never made it to the big leagues.

Writer-director Ron Shelton, who spent five years in the Orioles farm system, heard about Dalkowski's exploits and based the character Nuke Laloosh in 'Bull Durham' on the pitcher.

mookieproof, Friday, 24 April 2020 18:31 (one year ago) link

The A's are mourning the loss of former Athletic minor leaguer Miguel Marte, who passed away earlier this week due to complications from COVID-19. Marte played in the A's system from 2008-2012. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

— Oakland A's (@Athletics) May 1, 2020

mookieproof, Friday, 1 May 2020 19:41 (one year ago) link

journeyman Matt Keough, AL All-Star as a rookie in 1978 & was selected AL Comeback Player of the Year in 1980, both for the A's.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Sunday, 3 May 2020 23:39 (one year ago) link

Tonight my dad and hero Bob Watson has passed away after a long fight with kidney disease.. #Astros #Yankees #RedSox #Braves #Athletics #USABAseball #MLB #1stBlackGM

— K Dubb (@TheReal_KDubb) May 15, 2020

Andy K, Friday, 15 May 2020 12:45 (one year ago) link

Understand that I realize why, but Watson was the very definition of what James called "the RBI guy with mystique," something you can't have in the era of analytics.

clemenza, Friday, 15 May 2020 15:10 (one year ago) link

12 playoff PA in his second-to-last season was it for the post-season; must be high on the list of best players without a WS appearance. (Ignoring position/defense, he was a better hitter than Ernie Banks.)

clemenza, Monday, 7 December 2020 22:53 (five months ago) link

Rogelio Moret today, too:

I remember him because he went 14-3 for the famous '75 Red Sox team (also 13-2 for the '73 team). But I have no recollection of this (from Wikipedia): "His career ended in 1978 in bizarre fashion. Scheduled to be the starting pitcher against the Detroit Tigers on April 12, Moret was spotted in the Ranger locker room in a catatonic state, with his arm extended holding a slipper. He was unresponsive to examiners, and was immediately taken to a psychiatric facility and placed on the disabled list. He appeared in only six more games after the bizarre incident."

Allen wanted to be called Dick, writers insisted on calling him Richie; I'm guessing Moret preferred Rogelio to Roger.

clemenza, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 02:53 (five months ago) link

Goose Gossage on Allen in 2014: "He's the greatest player I've ever seen play in my life. He had the most amazing season (1972) I've ever seen. He's the smartest baseball man I've ever been around in my life. He taught me how to pitch from a hitter's perspective, and taught me how to play the game, and how to play the game right. There's no telling the numbers this guy could have put up if all he worried about was stats."

clemenza, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 04:39 (five months ago) link

we're gonna have to talk about bill james vs dick allen at some point; might as well get it out now

mookieproof, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 04:59 (five months ago) link

I know he was very anti-Allen in the first Historical Abstract; didn't he recant that later on?

clemenza, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 05:04 (five months ago) link

Checked the revised Historical Abstract; he didn't, just tempered his criticism with a shorter entry. Which amounts to, by not going along to get along, Allen destroyed his career. In terms of Allen's career, he's right. In terms of Allen's role as a person in the world, in terms of honor and integrity, and in terms of how Allen will be remembered, he's 1000% wrong.

clemenza, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 16:06 (five months ago) link

mookieproof, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 18:33 (five months ago) link

former minor leaguer charley pride, 86

mookieproof, Saturday, 12 December 2020 21:35 (five months ago) link

two weeks pass...

phil niekro, 81

seventh hall of famer to die this year

mookieproof, Sunday, 27 December 2020 17:37 (four months ago) link

that's as many as the last four years combined.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Sunday, 27 December 2020 19:04 (four months ago) link

tommy lasorda, 93

mookieproof, Friday, 8 January 2021 16:39 (four months ago) link

TIL he was basically the same age (2 months older) as Vin Scully.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 8 January 2021 16:57 (four months ago) link

a true master of the fuckin language of baseball

mookieproof, Friday, 8 January 2021 16:59 (four months ago) link

Kurt Bevacqua! Last hit ever off Jim Bouton. (Not sure if that was MLB or the minors, and it may have been before Bouton's late-'70s comeback.)

Someone's death is the time to say something nice, so: while I hated Lasorda's rah-rah cheerleading while he was active, the one time I appreciated him was some interview I saw during the '94 strike, when he seemed, to me, truly and poignantly distraught by what was happening.

clemenza, Friday, 8 January 2021 17:17 (four months ago) link

don sutton

mookieproof, Tuesday, 19 January 2021 21:32 (three months ago) link

2020 can stop any minute now.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Tuesday, 19 January 2021 21:51 (three months ago) link

17 seasons of at least 2.0 bWAR

mookieproof, Tuesday, 19 January 2021 22:15 (three months ago) link

Biggest of all.

clemenza, Friday, 22 January 2021 15:36 (three months ago) link


mookieproof, Friday, 22 January 2021 16:52 (three months ago) link

RIP Hank Aaron

Karl Malone, Friday, 22 January 2021 17:15 (three months ago) link

It's been said a million times before, but his level of consistency was something. He never had a season of 10+ WAR like Mays and Ruth and Bonds, but starting in 1955, his second season, and carrying through to 1971, when he was 37, he had an almost unbroken string of years between 6.0-10.0. The only year that fell short was 1970. That was an offensive boom year, so he would have been downgraded a bit for that, but in 1970 he hit 38 HR, knocked in 118, and had a slash line of .298/.385/.574--and that, as measured by bWAR, was his worst season. (Never struck out 100 times in a season.)

clemenza, Friday, 22 January 2021 17:24 (three months ago) link

still jarring seeing random fans rush him when he was rounding the bases on his 715th after all the death threats he'd been getting

mookieproof, Friday, 22 January 2021 17:29 (three months ago) link

I'll never forget those two teenagers (both white) who circled the bases with him. Aaron has said he was convinced they were there to kill him. They were just excited!

Probably an easy question by now, but do you remember who caught 715?

clemenza, Friday, 22 January 2021 17:33 (three months ago) link

^otm to both of those posts^

i mostly know him through his stats. i've watched a few old games in which he played or appeared (like all-star games), but wish i would of had a chance to just sit at a game and watch what guys like him do in between plays, in the dugout, with fellow players and the like. but yes, a model of consistent high-level performance (and durability, it seems), just unbelievable.

Karl Malone, Friday, 22 January 2021 17:34 (three months ago) link

sorry, xp to mookie's post and clemenza's above that

Karl Malone, Friday, 22 January 2021 17:35 (three months ago) link

yeah he was a bit before my time, so i only know him as a legend. and the stats are just . . . we're in here arguing about bobby abreu and scott rolen and aaron was like both of them put together with room left over

tbh i think i first learned about what he went through via snoopy:

mookieproof, Friday, 22 January 2021 17:45 (three months ago) link

Those two guys always crack me up:

I thought 715 was his first swing of the season, but it wasn't. There's some story there involving four-pitch walk beforehand--maybe 714 was his first.

clemenza, Friday, 22 January 2021 17:53 (three months ago) link

the nyt obituary is excellent, with a heavy slant towards his experiences with racism. a towering figure, who apparently never liked being called "hank." so r.i.p. henry aaron, a true all-time great.

voodoo chili, Friday, 22 January 2021 17:56 (three months ago) link

using first names that '60s black baseball players didn't like seems to have been a thing, wonder what that's about

mookieproof, Friday, 22 January 2021 18:04 (three months ago) link

I knew about Clemente's and Dick Allen's pushback, but I didn't know Aaron shared that. I've always called him Hank, but I'll change that. Weird that the Times wouldn't amend their headline!

clemenza, Friday, 22 January 2021 18:09 (three months ago) link

hard to reverse 60+ years of sports page colloquialism

voodoo chili, Friday, 22 January 2021 18:12 (three months ago) link

Clemenza, the WaPo obit has your answer:

The Dodgers’ pitcher was left-hander Al Downing, who wore the same uniform number as Mr. Aaron, 44. On a 1-0 count, Downing threw a slider that caught too much of the plate, and Mr. Aaron unloaded a blast that carried over the head of Dodgers left fielder Bill Buckner and into the Braves’ bullpen, where it was caught by relief pitcher Tom House.

RIP Hank Aaron.

Motoroller Scampotron (WmC), Friday, 22 January 2021 18:40 (three months ago) link

That's it. It's a great trivia answer--I think he rode that small bit of fame for the rest of his career and many years beyond as a coach. (Highly respected, I think.) I was reading his Wikipedia page and never knew this: "House has admitted to using anabolic steroids in the 1970s making him one of the earliest players to admit to using performance-enhancing drugs...House has stated that 'six or seven' pitchers on every major league staff in the 1970s were 'fiddling' with steroids or human growth hormone." He even tweeted today:

Hank Aaron changed my life. The greatest moment I ever got to be a part of was catching 715. That moment bonded us forever as friends and teammates. My heart hurts today to learn of his passing. We watched Hank shrug off the weight of the world and just keep swinging.

clemenza, Friday, 22 January 2021 19:29 (three months ago) link

I was at a Jays vs Braves game in T.O. and Aaron was honoured in a special ceremony before the game. That was the only time I "saw" him. Where can you even start with Aaron? He was the very definition of an inner circle HOF. I have never heard a bad word spoken about him. He was the model of consistency, excellence, and grace under pressure. Why did it take 25 years (after his retirement) to name an award after this guy?

NoTimeBeforeTime, Friday, 22 January 2021 20:42 (three months ago) link

Until Bonds (who had a nice tweet today) came along, Aaron's 1973 season was my frame of reference for preternaturally great old-guy seasons. 40 HR in 392 AB for a 39-year-old? It was like science-fiction. And that was the heyday of all those future 300-game winners: Seaver, Carlton, Niekro, and Sutton were all active in the NL.

clemenza, Friday, 22 January 2021 22:25 (three months ago) link

This is great!.

I want to find a similar piece now on the two people holding up the sign on the back of Kiss's Alive!.

clemenza, Friday, 22 January 2021 22:38 (three months ago) link

Every living president...almost.

clemenza, Saturday, 23 January 2021 22:54 (three months ago) link

i haven't heard a word from trump since he fucked off, and i want to keep that going as long as possible

Karl Malone, Saturday, 23 January 2021 23:10 (three months ago) link


mookieproof, Saturday, 23 January 2021 23:12 (three months ago) link

For sure. I have to admit, I love how the five of them will be making the other one look bad without even trying.

clemenza, Saturday, 23 January 2021 23:14 (three months ago) link

utility man ron johnson, 64

played 22 games over three seasons with the royals and expos in the early '80s, then won 1752 games over 24 seasons as a minor league manager. he was the red sox's bench coach in 2010-2011

mookieproof, Tuesday, 26 January 2021 19:37 (three months ago) link

damn, wrong Ron Johnson. RIP utility man ron johnson

Karl Malone, Tuesday, 26 January 2021 19:40 (three months ago) link

he was the red sox's bench coach in 2010-2011

first base coach according to Youkilis' tribute.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 26 January 2021 19:41 (three months ago) link

covid, btw

mookieproof, Tuesday, 26 January 2021 19:46 (three months ago) link

grant jackson, 78. winner of game seven of the 1979 world series

mookieproof, Tuesday, 2 February 2021 15:42 (three months ago) link

I remember him as part of the great Orioles '71 staff. (Don't hate me: '79 was my first year at university--don't think I watched an inning of the '79 Series!)

clemenza, Tuesday, 2 February 2021 18:23 (three months ago) link

ESPN remembers SportsCenter reporter Pedro Gomez, who passed away unexpectedly today at the age of 58.

— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) February 8, 2021

Andy K, Monday, 8 February 2021 03:27 (three months ago) link

ugh that sucks, always liked him ever since he was on the barry bonds beat

tiwa-nty one savage (voodoo chili), Monday, 8 February 2021 03:32 (three months ago) link

three weeks pass...

joe altobelli, 88

mookieproof, Wednesday, 3 March 2021 18:21 (two months ago) link

two months pass...

Ray Miller, former Orioles manager and longtime pitching coach, dies

— Baltimore Sun Sports (@BaltSunSports) May 5, 2021

mookieproof, Wednesday, 5 May 2021 18:42 (one week ago) link

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