baseball obituaries 2018

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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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

longtime giants broadcaster hank greenwald, 83

mookieproof, Tuesday, 23 October 2018 18:42 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

Between the '30s and the PED era, his '69 season was a benchmark offensively.

clemenza, Thursday, 1 November 2018 00:35 (one year ago) link

Checked that, and his '69 is indeed the highest OPS+ year (209) in that gap by someone not named Williams or Mantle.

clemenza, Thursday, 1 November 2018 11:56 (one year ago) link

He showed up in 1972 healthy and raring to go, and homered on Opening Day off Houston’s Don Wilson. In the season’s fourth game, San Diego’s John Jeter ran into McCovey at first base, fracturing Willie’s right forearm. ("I feel like I killed Santa Claus," Jeter said.)

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 1 November 2018 17:45 (one year ago) link

Posnanski just posted a McCovey entry in his countdown (#89, obviously bumped up or down because of his death), and he reminded me of one of my favourite moments in Ball Four:

"Hey Willie," Jim Bouton said to McCovey as he and what he called "a group of terrorized pitchers" watched McCovey smash terrifying home run after terrifying home run in batting practice. "Can you do that every time?"

McCovey, Bouton said, did not even smile.

"Just about," he said.

clemenza, Friday, 2 November 2018 00:18 (one year ago) link

Apparently we failed to note Marty Pattin, AL pitcher 1968-80, mostly for the Royals (and a Seattle Pilot), who died last month.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 12 November 2018 19:34 (one year ago) link

Another Ball Four guy...Line I think I remember: "Marty, how do you hold your gopher balls?" (which Bouton felt bad about after he said it).

clemenza, Monday, 12 November 2018 19:54 (one year ago) link

three weeks pass...

RIP Fred Caligiuri — the oldest living former @MLB player — who died Friday at the age of 100. Pitching for the Philadelphia @Athletics, he faced Ted Williams on the final day of the 1941 season when he hit .406. Read Caligiuri's #SABR bio:

— SABR (@sabr) December 3, 2018

mookieproof, Monday, 3 December 2018 21:49 (one year ago) link

Former Major League Baseball players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo were killed in a car accident on Thursday night, a spokesperson for their Venezuelan team, Cardenales de Lara, confirmed.

Valbuena was 33. Castillo was 37.

reggae mike love (polyphonic), Friday, 7 December 2018 08:13 (one year ago) link

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Former major league players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo were killed in a car crash caused by highway bandits who then robbed them, officials said Friday.

The 33-year-old Valbuena and 37-year-old Castillo died late Thursday when their SUV crashed as it tried to veer around an object on the road, Yaracuy state Gov. Julio Leon Heredia said on his Twitter account.

Officials said some bandits place or throw objects on highways to force vehicles to stop or crash so they can rob the occupants. Heredia said four people have been detained after being found with property of the athletes.

Valbuena and Castillo were teammates on the Cardenales de Lara team in the Venezuelan winter league and were returning from a game in the capital when the crash occurred en route to the city of Barquisimeto.

Third baseman Carlos Rivero was in the car and survived, according to the website BeisbolPlay.

omar little, Saturday, 8 December 2018 03:00 (one year ago) link

Joan Steinbrenner, widow of Boss Bullshit

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 17 December 2018 12:50 (one year ago) link

three weeks pass...

The Hall of Fame remembers former @Orioles, @Twins, @Angels, @RedSox and @Tigers outfielder Lenny Green, who passed away on Sunday.

— Baseball Hall ⚾ (@baseballhall) January 8, 2019

mookieproof, Tuesday, 8 January 2019 15:05 (one year ago) link

mel stottlemyre, 77

mookieproof, Monday, 14 January 2019 17:38 (one year ago) link

Very interesting career. Helped along by his era a career ERA under 3.00, retired at 32, never had a really bad year (three mediocre ones, never terrible), won 20 three times and lost 20 once, hit 40 WAR in a short career. And his son gets credit for the worst slide in the entire history of baseball.

clemenza, Monday, 14 January 2019 19:38 (one year ago) link

also unusual in that he was the Yankee ace when they won nothing (after his rookie year), then was pitching coach for the WS-winning Mets

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 14 January 2019 19:42 (one year ago) link

Like a lot of guys in the early '60s, AL especially, he would have had a real good shot at a Cy Young in '65 if not for Koufax: 20-9, 6.9 WAR, 291 innings for the first lousy Yankees team (6th place) in ages.

clemenza, Monday, 14 January 2019 19:47 (one year ago) link

(Actually, no--McDowell would have been a cinch, even with fewer wins.)

clemenza, Monday, 14 January 2019 19:52 (one year ago) link

Tom Hausman, pitcher in 160 MLB games 1975-82, and the first FA signed by the Mets

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 21 January 2019 16:24 (one year ago) link

R.I.P. Jim McKean, legendary umpire and Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer By: Kevin Glew (@coopincanada )

— The Canadian Baseball Network (@CDNBaseballNet) January 24, 2019

mookieproof, Thursday, 24 January 2019 15:35 (one year ago) link

damn, RIP

Karl Malone, Thursday, 24 January 2019 16:02 (one year ago) link

frank robinson

mookieproof, Thursday, 7 February 2019 19:38 (one year ago) link

mookieproof, Thursday, 7 February 2019 19:43 (one year ago) link


omar little, Thursday, 7 February 2019 19:49 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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

clemenza, Friday, 8 February 2019 18:17 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

(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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

don newcombe, 92

mookieproof, Tuesday, 19 February 2019 18:57 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

'the only player to represent multiple non-US teams in the all-star game'

mookieproof, Wednesday, 30 October 2019 20:22 (nine months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Vera Clemente, widow of No. 21

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 17 November 2019 13:25 (eight months ago) link

twins prospect ryan costello, 23, of 'natural causes'

mookieproof, Monday, 18 November 2019 20:20 (eight months ago) link

Unnaturally young.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Monday, 18 November 2019 22:59 (eight months ago) link

former pitcher and phillies scout will brunson, 49

mookieproof, Wednesday, 27 November 2019 02:38 (eight months ago) link

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