Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Passtime Passings by Baseball Historian Bruce Markusen

Pastime Passings in 2004
By Bruce Markusen

The baseball world did not endure the loss of any Hall of Fame members in 2004, but still suffered the departures of a number of accomplished major league managers (including Charlie Fox, Darrell Johnson, and Johnny Oates); two standout umpires (Ken Burkhart and Ed Sudol); a trio of winners of the Frick and Spink awards (Joseph Durso, Joe Falls, and Bob Murphy); several All-Star caliber players (Bobby Avila, Ray Boone, and Ken Caminiti); and an array of colorful characters (including Rod Kanehl, Tug McGraw, and Leon Wagner).

In their collective honor, we present the roll call for 2004:

Click below for the comprehensive list. Bruce thanks so much for this contribution to baseball history,
MartyJoseph Durso (Died on December 31 in Nissequogue, New York; age 80; cancer): A longtime writer and onetime sports editor for the New York Times, Durso received the Hall of Fame’s J.G. Taylor Spink Award for his contributions to baseball writing in 1995. During his career, Durso covered the beats for both the New York Mets and Yankees, and also wrote biographies of Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, John McGraw, and Casey Stengel. Durso retired from the Times in 2001, completing a 51-year career with the newspaper.

Rex Bowen (Died on December 30 in New Smyrna Beach, Florida; age 93): Considered one of the finest scouts of all time, Bowen signed a number of future major leaguers for the Pittsburgh Pirates, most notably Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski and standout shortstops Dick Groat and Maury Wills. Bowen later became an executive with the Cincinnati Reds, serving as an assistant to the general manager throughout the era of the “Big Red Machine.” In 2000, Baseball America voted Bowen one of the 10 greatest scouts of the 20th century.

Ken Burkhart (Died on December 29 in Knoxville, Tennessee; age 89; effects of emphysema): A major league pitcher who later remained active as an umpire and worked six All-Star games, Burkhart is best remembered for his involvement in a controversial call during the 1970 World Series. During Game One at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium, Burkhart found himself in the middle of a crucial play after the Reds’ Ty Cline bounced a chopper in front of home plate. Moving quickly from his position behind the plate, Burkhart became entangled with Baltimore Orioles catcher Elrod Hendricks, who was attempting to field the ball and make a tag on Cincinnati’s Bernie Carbo. As Carbo steamed home and Hendricks tried to apply the tag, Burkhart was knocked to the ground, thereby losing his vantage point. Burkhart nonetheless called Carbo out, infuriating Reds manager Sparky Anderson. Replays showed that Hendricks had tagged Carbo without the ball in his glove, while also revealing that Carbo missed home plate. The Reds would go on to lose the game, 4-3, and the Series, four games to one.

Charlie “Cutt” Cozart (Died on December 29 in Hudson, North Carolina; age 85): A left-handed pitcher, Cozart made five appearances for the Boston Braves in 1945. After his playing days, he worked in the sheriff’s department of Caldwell County, where he was also enshrined in the county’s sports hall of fame.

Gus Niarhos (Died on December 29 in Birmingham, Alabama; age 84): Niarhos was a singles-hitting catcher who spent nine seasons in the major leagues, primarily as backup to such players as Yogi Berra. He later became better known for his work as a minor league manager in the Oakland A’s’ farm system, where he helped Gene Tenace make a difficult conversion from outfielder to catcher.

Eddie Layton (Died on December 26 in New York; age unknown; brief illness): Layton served as the Yankee Stadium organist for over 35 years, beginning his tenure in the Bronx in 1967. Known for playing short bursts of music that consisted of just a few short notes, Layton often saluted outstanding plays in the field by playing a few chords of “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” In addition to his work at Yankee Stadium, Layton also served as the organist at Madison Square Garden, where he performed at Knicks and Rangers games for 18 years.

Johnny Oates (Died on December 24 in Richmond, Virginia; age 58; brain tumor): Considered one of baseball’s truly nice guys, Oates passed away after an extended battle with brain cancer. He was diagnosed with the disease in 2001; despite a prognosis that gave him only several months to live, Oates battled the disease for over three years.

Oates began his major league career in September of 1970, as he joined the Baltimore Orioles during their World Championship season. The defensive-minded catcher later played for the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and Los Angeles Dodgers (where he appeared in two World Series) before returning to the American League to finish out his career as a backup catcher with the New York Yankees. After his playing days, Oates became an accomplished major league manager. After his first managerial trial in Baltimore, Oates moved onto Texas, where he enjoyed his greatest big league success. Oates guided the Rangers to three Western Division titles and earned a share of the 1996 Manager of the Year Award with Joe Torre of the Yankees.

Doug Ault (Died on December 22 in Tarpon Spring Florida; age 54; self-inflicted gunshot wound): A member of the inaugural Toronto Blue Jays’ franchise in 1977, Ault hit two home runs in the team’s first game, which was played on a snow-filled day at Exhibition Stadium. Ault’s two-homer game, which came at the expense of veteran left-hander Ken Brett, lifted the fledgling Blue Jays to a 6-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox. Ault’s early-season performance gave the Jays hope of future stardom, but the slugging first baseman failed to live up to the team’s expectations. He later managed in the Blue Jays’ organization, serving as a pilot at the team’s Class-A affiliates in Dunedin, Kinston and St. Catharines, and at Triple-A Syracuse.

Glenn Vaughan (Died on December 18 in Houston, Texas; age 60; natural causes): Making his debut as a 19-year-old shortstop, Vaughan played in nine games for the Houston Colt .45s in 1963. After his playing career came to an end, Vaughan became an insurance agent and a real estate investor.

Ted Abernathy (Died on December 16 in Gastonia, North Carolina; age 71; Alzheimer’s disease): A durable and effective reliever, Abernathy featured one of the most distinctive pitching deliveries of his era. Labeled as both a sidearming and submarining right-hander, Abernathy delivered the ball from such an extremely low release point that his hand nearly scraped the mound during his pitching motion. The unusual delivery helped Abernathy, who began his career in 1955, maintain his effectiveness until his final season in 1972. Abernathy reached his peak in the 1960s, when he twice led the National League in saves, prior to the official tabulation of the “save” statistic. He saved 31 games for the Chicago Cubs in 1965 and 28 games for the Cincinnati Reds in 1967. He led the league in appearances with 81 in 1965, compiling just over 136 innings in relief. Abernathy also pitched for the Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, and Kansas City Royals.

Bobby Mattick (Died on December 16 in Scottsdale, Arizona; age 89; effects of a stroke): Known for his affability and strong teaching skills, the fatherly Mattick managed the Toronto Blue Jays in 1980 and ’81. He remained with the organization as a key member of the front office, becoming a vice president in 1984 and helping to develop some of the talent that would result in two World Championships for the Blue Jays in the early 1990s. Prior to his managerial days, Mattick played in the major leagues as a shortstop with the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds and then became one of the Blue Jays’ first employees in 1976, serving as the team’s scouting supervisor.

Danny Doyle (Died on December 14 in Stillwater, Oklahoma; age 87): After a brief catching career with the Boston Red Sox, Doyle achieved notoriety as one of the franchise’s longtime scouts. Doyle was credited with signing such future Red Sox stars as Ellis Burks, Roger Clemens, and Jim Lonborg.

Rod Kanehl (Died on December 14 in Palm Springs, California; age 70; effects of a heart attack): Nicknamed “Hot Rod,” the colorful Kanehl was a member of the original New York Mets in 1962 and hit the first grand slam in franchise history. A versatile player, Kanehl played the outfield and all four infield positions during his three-year career in the major leagues. Known for his memorable quotations, a retired Kanehl entered the Mets’ clubhouse just after the team clinched its first pennant in 1969 and exclaimed to sportswriter Dick Young, “I waited seven years to get champagne, and they squirted Yoo-Hoo on me.”

Andre Rodgers (Died on December 13 in Nassau, Bahamas; age 70; respiratory ailments): The first native Bahamian to make the major leagues, Rodgers paid his own way to participate in a New York Giants tryout camp in 1954. Despite his longshot status, Rodgers impressed the Giants sufficiently to warrant a minor league contract and then earned a promotion to New York in 1957. The shortstop then moved with the franchise to San Francisco in 1958 before being traded to the Milwaukee Braves for Alvin Dark (who would become the Giants’ manager) in October of 1960. Prior to the 1961 season, Rodgers landed with the Chicago Cubs as part of a four-player deal that brought Moe Drabowsky to Milwaukee. In 1962, Rodgers received one of the biggest breaks of his career when the Cubs decided to move Hall of Famer Ernie Banks to first base, clearing an everyday position for Rodgers at shortstop. Two years later, he reached career highs in home runs and RBIs.

Ed Sudol (Died on December 10 in Daytona Beach, Florida; age 84): A major league umpire whose tenure spanned from the late 1950s to the late 1970s, Sudol worked a number of milestone games during his career. In 1974, he served as the home plate umpire on the night that Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run, eclipsing Babe Ruth’s career record. Ten years earlier, Sudol was the home plate umpire for Jim Bunning’s perfect game on Father’s Day at Shea Stadium. Sudol also received three World Series assignments, working Fall Classic games in 1965, 1971, and 1977.

Charles “Sleepy” Chatman (Died on December 1 in Memphis, Tennessee; age 70): A veteran of the Negro Leagues, Chatman played for the Birmingham Black Barons, the Detroit Stars, and Detroit Clowns during the post-integration era.

Harry “The Horse” Danning (Died on November 29 in Valparaiso, Indiana; age 93): A four-time All-Star catcher, Danning was the oldest living Jewish major leaguer at the time of his death. The peak of his career occurred from 1938 to 1941, when he earned All-Star selections each summer. He batted .300 or better in three of those seasons, while reaching career highs in home runs in 1939 and RBIs in 1940.

Danning was scheduled to attend a celebration of Jewish major leaguers at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in late August, but had to cancel the appearance because of his declining health.

Connie Johnson (Died on November 25 in Kansas City, Missouri; age 81): A veteran of both the Negro Leagues and the major leagues, Johnson pitched his first professional game in 1940 at the age of 17. Two years later, he was part of the famed Kansas City Monarchs’ pitching staff that featured Hall of Famers Satchel Paige and Hilton Smith. Johnson then served in the U.S. military during World War II before returning to the Negro Leagues. After a short stint in Canada, the Chicago White Sox purchased his contract, giving Johnson his first opportunity in the major leagues.

Brian Traxler (Died on November 19 in San Antonio, Texas; age 37; effects of alcoholism): Although Traxler appeared in only nine major league games for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the hard-hitting first baseman became a minor league icon while playing for the San Antonio Missions. An extremely popular player with fans, Traxler batted .346 for the Missions in 1989. He later played in the Japanese Leagues and was most recently employed as a minor league hitting instructor in the Dodgers’ system.

Floyd Baker (Died on November 16 in Youngstown, Ohio; age 88): Baker played in parts of 13 major league seasons as a light-hitting infielder with the St. Louis Browns, Chicago White Sox, Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox, and Philadelphia Phillies. He later became a scout with the Minnesota Twins, signing a number of future major leaguers, including Bernie Allen, Joe Nossek, and Rich Rollins.

Jesse Gonder (Died on November 14 in Oakland, California; age 68): Although mostly a journeyman catcher throughout his career, Gonder found success in 1963 and ‘64 as the No. 1 receiver for the fledgling New York Mets. After having started the ’63 season with the Cincinnati Reds, Gonder found himself traded to the Mets in mid-stream. He responded to the move by hitting .302 in 126 at-bats. In 1964, he compiled a respectable .270 batting average in 131 games while giving New York some much-desired respectability beyond the plate.

Gonder also gained notoriety for other reasons. Having debuted with the cross-town “Bronx Bombers” in 1960, Gonder became one of the first players to play for both the Yankees and the Mets during his major league career. More importantly, Gonder established a reputation for being outspoken and honest at a time when most African-American athletes found little encouragement—and numerous obstacles—in doing so.

After his playing days, Gonder became a bus driver for Golden Gate Transit in the Bay Area, remaining in that position for two decades before retiring in the mid-1990s.

Bobby Avila (Died on October 25 in Veracruz, Mexico; age 78; complications from diabetes): A three-time All-Star second baseman, Avila won the 1954 American League batting title. With a lofty .341 average, Avila beat out Ted Williams and Minnie Minoso in helping the Cleveland Indians run away with the AL pennant race. Avila remained with the Indians until 1958, when he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles. Avila then played short stints with the Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Braves before retiring with a .281 batting average.

Chuck Hiller (Died on October 20 in St. Pete Beach, Florida; age 70; lengthy illness): Best remembered as the player who hit the first grand slam for the National League in World Series history, Hiller had worked for the New York Mets’ organization in a variety of roles over the last 24 seasons. During an eight-year playing career, Hiller batted only .243 with 20 home runs and 152 RBIs, but gained instant fame by hitting a grand slam in Game Four of the 1962 World Series against the New York Yankees. Hiller’s blast broke up a 3-3 tie and spurred the San Francisco Giants to a 7-3 win. Hiller later played for the Mets from 1965 to 1967 and then rejoined the organization after his playing days. He worked for the Mets as a minor league manager and adviser, served as the team’s third base coach in 1990, and worked as an advisor to the club’s minor league director in 2004. Hiller was also a coach with four other major league teams—the Giants, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals, and St. Louis Cardinals—and worked on Whitey Herzog’s World Championship staff of 1982.

Ray Boone (Died on October 17 in San Diego, California; age 81; lengthy illness): The patriarch of baseball’s first three-generation family, Boone was a two-time All-Star infielder who batted .275 with 151 home runs over a 13-year career. Nicknamed “Ike,” Boone starred as a combination shortstop-third baseman for the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers. In 1955, as a member of the Tigers, he led the American League with 115 RBIs.

Boone’s son, Bob, eventually became a standout defensive catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies and California Angels. Two of his grandsons, Bret and Aaron, have also achieved prominence in the major leagues, with both active in the game today. Bret Boone remains the starting second baseman for the Seattle Mariners. Aaron Boone will be attempting a comeback with the Cleveland Indians this spring after missing all of the 2004 season with a knee injury.

Mike Blyzka (Died on October 13 in Cheyenne, Wyoming; age 75): A veteran of the Army during World War II, Blyzka pitched for two major league seasons, compiling a record of 3-11 with an ERA of 5.58 in just over 180 innings. After making his debut with the St. Louis Browns in 1953 and then moving with the franchise to Baltimore, Blyzka found himself in the midst of a blockbuster deal. After the 1954 season, the Orioles sent him to the New York Yankees as part of the trade that brought pitchers Bob Turley and Don Larsen to the Bronx.

Ken Caminiti (Died on October 10 in the Bronx, New York; age 41; heart attack): A popular but troubled and controversial star for the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres, Caminiti died as the result of an apparent cocaine overdose. In the highlight of his career, Caminiti earned National League MVP honors in 1996 as a member of the Padres, but later admitted to steroid use and cocaine addiction at various points during his career. After making his debut as a skinny third baseman with the Astros in 1987, Caminiti bulked up heavily through steroid use and weight training, thus becoming one of the game’s most physically imposing players. The increased strength made him a feared power hitter in his prime, but also left him more susceptible to injury.

In a 15-year career that included stops with the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves, Caminiti batted .272 with 239 home runs and 983 RBIs. An excellent defensive third baseman, he reached his peak in 1996, when he achieved career highs of 40 home runs and 130 RBIs.

Tony Giuliani (Died on October 8 in Minneapolis, Minnesota; age 91): A veteran of seven major league seasons as a catcher, Giuliani later gained prominence as one of the top scouts for the Washington Senators and the Minnesota Twins. Giuliani played for the Senators, St. Louis Browns, and Brooklyn Dodgers, and was on the field at Yankee Stadium for Lou Gehrig’s memorable farewell speech on July 4, 1939. As a member of the Twins’ scouting staff, Giuliani signed future star Kent Hrbek along with catcher Tim Laudner, infielder John Castino, and outfielder Jim Eisenreich.

Johnny Sturm (Died on October 8 in St. Louis, Missouri; age 88): Sacrificing much of his professional career to the World War II effort, Sturm played one major league season before enlisting in the service. In 1941, he batted .239 with three home runs and 35 RBIs as the starting first baseman for the New York Yankees. Beginning a long wartime stint in the military the following year, Sturm served through 1945 and never returned to the major leagues.

John Cerutti (Died on October 3 in Toronto, Canada; age 44; natural causes): Formerly a major league pitcher before becoming a popular broadcaster with the Toronto Blue Jays, Cerutti was found dead in his hotel room the morning of the Jays’ final game in 2004. The Blue Jays and their broadcast crew became alarmed when Cerutti failed to attend a morning production meeting in anticipation of the final game. His absence prompted a search, which resulted in the discovery of his body in the hotel room.

In 1981, the Blue Jays selected Cerutti, a left-handed pitcher, with their first-round pick in the amateur draft. Four years later, he completed the climb to the majors, beginning a six-year stint with the Jays. Cerutti’s two finest seasons occurred in a Jays’ uniform; in 1987, he was 11 of 15 decisions while posting a 4.40 era, and in 1989, he went 11-11 with a 3.07 ERA. His success continued into the 1989 postseason, when he pitched two and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief against the Oakland A’s. After the 1990 season, Cerutti left the Jays, signing a free agent contract with the Detroit Tigers. He finished his career with a record of 49-43 and an ERA of 3.94. In 1997, he began a second career in baseball by joining Toronto’s broadcasting crew.

Gertrude “Gertie” Dunn (Died on September 29 in Avondale, Pennsylvania; age 72; plane crash): Dunn played for the South Bend Blue Sox of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1952, helping the team to the league’s championship that summer. After the AAGPBL folded in 1954, Dunn attended West Chester University, where she earned spots on the U.S. national field hockey and lacrosse teams. Her performance in field hockey resulted in her enshrinement in that sport’s hall of fame. At the time of her death, she maintained her involvement in field hockey as a referee for youth games.

Dunn was a certified pilot who was taking off from the New Garden Airport in Avondale on September 29 when she began to experience trouble with the single-engine plane. Shortly after takeoff, the plane unexpectedly crashed, killing Dunn.

Victor Cruz (Died on September 26 in the Dominican Republic; age 46; cause of death not reported): A journeyman reliever who often used a sidewinding motion, Cruz pitched for several clubs in the late 1970s and early 1980s. After making a successful major league debut with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1978, winning seven of 10 decisions with nine saves and a tidy 1.71 ERA, the transient right-hander moved to the Cleveland Indians for two seasons, and then made pitstops with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers in 1981 and ’83, respectively. Cruz finished his career with a record of 18-23 and an ERA of 3.09.

Rosie Gacioch (Died on September 9 in Clinton Township, Michigan; age 89): A three-time All-Star in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, Gacioch won 21 games during the 1951 season. She also pitched a no-hitter two years later. After making her debut for the South Bend Blue Sox in 1944, she spent the rest of her AAGPBL career with the Rockford Peaches, retiring after the 1954 season.

Hal Reniff (Died on September 7 in Ontario, California; age 66): A onetime member of both the New York Yankees and New York Mets, Reniff made his major league debut during the Yankees’ World Championship season of 1961. A large right-hander who was nicknamed “Porky,” he later pitched in the 1963 and ’64 Fall Classics, compiling three and a third innings of scoreless relief. Reniff became an important part of the Yankee bullpen in 1963, earning a team-leading 18 saves. Four years later, he wrapped up his big league tenure by pitching for the cross-town rival Mets. In seven seasons, Reniff logged a respectable 3.27 ERA while pitching almost exclusively in relief.

Bob Boyd (Died on September 7 in Wichita, Kansas; age 84; cancer): Nicknamed “The Rope” for his ability to hit line drives consistently, Boyd enjoyed a nine-year career in the major leagues. In 1957, as a member of the Baltimore Orioles, he finished fourth in the American League batting race with a .318 batting average. He also played for the Chicago White Sox, Kansas City A’s, and Milwaukee Braves. Although he was a tough left-handed batter and a capable fielder, Boyd lacked the power that most teams preferred in a first baseman; as a result, he spent much of the latter stages of his career as a pinch-hitter. Boyd finished his career with only 19 home runs, but batted .293 in 693 major league games.

Bernard “Frenchy” Uhalt (Died on September 3 in Rossmoor, California; age 93): Uhalt played briefly in the major leagues but gained most of his notoriety as a standout player in the Pacific Coast League. As an amateur, Uhalt turned down football scholarship offers to pursue professional baseball. During a long and legendary PCL career, Uhalt hit .298 with 2,798 hits, 401 stolen bases, and 130 triples in 2,499 games. The speedy outfielder made his major league debut with the Chicago White Sox on April 17, 1934. He hit .242 with 16 RBIs in 57 games that season, but never returned to the major leagues.

Willie Crawford (Died on August 27 in Los Angeles, California; age 57; kidney disease): A veteran of two World Series, Crawford was once the most highly recruited high school player in the country. In 1964, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed him to a contract that included a bonus of $100,000, mandating that Crawford be kept on the 25-man roster the entire season. As a result, Crawford made his major league debut that season at the age of 17. He remained with the Dodgers for 12 seasons, but never lived up to the billing of many major league scouts, who raved over his speed, power, and outfield throwing arm. Used primarily in a platoon role, Crawford made his first World Series appearance in 1965, delivering a pinch-hit single in Game One against the Minnesota Twins. Crawford enjoyed his best season in 1973, when he batted .295 with 14 home runs and 66 RBIs. The following year, he made his second appearance in the World Series with the Dodgers and hit a home run, but couldn’t prevent LA from losing the so-called “Freeway Series” in five games. In 1977, the Dodgers finally traded Crawford, who finished up his career by playing short stints with the St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, and Oakland A’s.

Hal Epps (Died on August 26 in Houston, Texas; age 90): A longtime minor league star and a member of the 1947 Texas League champion Houston Buffs, Epps appeared in 125 major league games over a staggered four-year career. Making his debut for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1938, Epps hit a home run in his first at-bat—marking the only home run of his big league career. The left-handed hitting outfielder finished his rookie season with a .300 batting average in 50 at-bats, but didn’t return to the major leagues until 1940 and never again achieved similar success. In 1943 and ’44, he wrapped up his big league career by playing short stints with the St. Louis Browns and Philadelphia Athletics. Playing in his final season with the Athletics, Epps collected nine triples, which placed him in the top five in the American League. Rather than retire, Epps decided to continue his playing career in the minor leagues.

Hank Borowy (Died on August 23 in Brick, New Jersey; age 88): Borowy won 108 games over a 10-year career that included stints with the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Detroit Tigers. The right-hander picked up four decisions during the 1945 World Series, posting a record of 2-2 as Borowy’s Cubs fell to the rival Tigers in seven games. Borowy started the final game, which the Cubs lost, 9-3. That same season, Borowy became the first pitcher in major league history to win 10 games for two different teams in one year. After winning 10 games for the Yankees, he was dealt to the Cubs, where he posted a record of 11-2 down the stretch. Borowy had previously pitched in the 1942 and ’43 World Series, helping the Yankees win the championship with a victory in Game Three of the latter Series.

Jim Nelson (Died on August 22 in Sacramento, California; age 57; cause of death not revealed): A member of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ World Championship team in 1971, Nelson was best remembered for winning the last game ever played at Forbes Field. On June 28, 1970, Nelson started the historic Forbes Field finale against the Chicago Cubs and earned a 4-1 victory. Known for brushing back hitters with his fastball, Nelson then made 17 appearances during the Bucs’ World Championship season of 1971, but was not included on the team’s postseason roster. Considered one of the Pirates’ better pitching prospects, Nelson saw his career stalled by rotator cuff surgery, which at the time usually signaled the end of a pitcher’s career. He never appeared in another major league game after the 1971 season. In 32 career games, Nelson posted a 6-4 record and a respectable ERA of 3.06.

Madeline “Maddy” English (Died on August 21 in Everett, Massachusetts; age 79; lung cancer): A veteran of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1943 to 1950, English starred on two league championship teams. After graduating from high school in 1943, English signed with the Racine Belles, whom she helped win league titles in 1943 and 1946. She forged a reputation as one of the league’s better third basemen and later became a popular physical education teacher in Everett, eventually earning induction into the Women in Sports Hall of Fame, the New England Sports Museum, and the Boston University Hall of Fame. A school in Everett is also named in her honor. English remained a fan favorite in her later years, often attending reunions of the AAGPBL and celebrations of Women in Baseball at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Joe Falls (Died on August 11 in Detroit; heart failure related to diabetes; age 76): A jovial, popular sportswriter known for his keen wit and voice-of-the-people writing style, Falls was a staple of the Detroit newspaper scene from the early 1950s until his retirement last year. Falls began his professional career in 1945, working as a copy boy for the Associated Press in New York City. In 1953, he received a transfer to the AP’s bureau in Detroit before eventually landing a job with the Detroit Times and then the Detroit Free Press, where he eventually became that paper’s sports editor. In 1978, he joined the sports department of the Detroit News, where he remained until his retirement. For years, Falls also wrote a regular column for The Sporting News, with a special emphasis on baseball-related subjects. In 2002, Falls earned the Hall of Fame’s J.G. Taylor Spink Award for outstanding baseball writing and officially received the honor at that year’s Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown.

Bob Murphy (Died on August 3 in West Palm Beach, Florida; age 79; lung cancer): Diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year, Murphy had just concluded a long and distinguished career as a play-by-play broadcaster in 2003. One of the New York Mets’ original broadcasters in 1962, Murphy teamed with Lindsey Nelson and Ralph Kiner to form one of the most popular local broadcast teams of all time. The three men split up radio and TV duties for 17 years, before Nelson decided to leave New York for play-by-play duties with the San Francisco Giants. In 1982, Murphy was moved to radio broadcasts on a fulltime basis. Although Murphy considered the move a demotion of sorts, he truly shined in the radio booth, where the need for explicit descriptions of plays as they happened better fit his broadcasting style.

Murphy’s career in broadcasting spanned 50 years. He previously did play-by-play for the Boston Red Sox, with whom he began his major league career in 1954. Six years later, he moved on to do Baltimore Orioles broadcasts. In 1994, while still active as the Mets’ play-by-play man, he received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence, an annual award bestowed by the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In tribute to Murphy, the Mets will wear his name on their left sleeve for the balance of the 2004 season.

Ruben Gomez (Died on July 26 in San Juan, Puerto Rico; age 77; long illness): A member of the 1954 World Champion New York Giants, Gomez won 17 games that season, posted a career-best 2.88 ERA, and became the first Puerto Rican native to win a World Series game. The thin right-hander never achieved similar success again, instead gaining more notoriety for his tendency to hit batters with pitches. During his rookie season in 1953, Gomez hit Carl Furillo of the Brooklyn Dodgers, prompting a brawl between the New York City rivals. Believing that Giants manager Leo Durocher had ordered the knockdown pitch, Furillo became angry and both benches cleared. During the fight that followed, Furillo suffered a broken hand. In 1956, Gomez hit Milwaukee Braves star Joe Adcock in the wrist, prompting the slugger to charge the mound. As Adcock made his way toward the pitcher, Gomez fired the ball at him a second time. And then in 1957, Gomez beaned Frank Robinson of the Cincinnati Reds, resulting in a hospital stay for the future Hall of Famer.

Gomez later pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Indians, and Minnesota Twins over a career that spanned 10 major league seasons. He retired in 1967, leaving behind a record of 76-86 with an earned run average of 4.09.

Tony Lupien (Died on July 9 in Norwich, Vermont; age 87; long illness): A veteran of six seasons in the major leagues, Lupien played first base for the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago White Sox. Although a singles-hitting journeyman in the big leagues, Lupien became far more successful after his playing days. In 1956, the Harvard graduate was hired by another Ivy League school, Dartmouth College, to lead its baseball program. During a 21-year tenure as head coach, Lupien guided Dartmouth to four Eastern Intercollegiate League championships and an overall record of 313-305-3. In 1980, Lupien ventured into another baseball avenue when he collaborated with veteran author Lee Lowenfish to write The Imperfect Diamond, a book that details the history of labor in the sport.

Rob Derksen (Died on June 16 in New York City; age 44; heart attack): An international scout for the Baltimore Orioles, Derksen was preparing for his role as the manager of the Greek Olympic baseball team and was heavily involved in the selection of team members. Derksen had previously managed the Australian team at the 2000 Olympic Games. Derksen began his professional baseball career in 1982, when he was drafted as a pitcher on the 16th round by the Milwaukee Brewers. After retiring as a player, he began a 20-year career as a coach and scout.

George Hausmann (Died on June 16 in Boerne, Texas; age 88; cancer): After debuting for the San Francisco Giants in 1944 and ’45, Hausmann jumped the major leagues to play in the Mexican League. Commissioner A.B. “Happy” Chandler suspended the second baseman, but eventually lifted the ban. Hausmann later returned to the Giants, playing for them briefly in 1949. In 301 career games, he batted .268 with three home runs and 10 stolen bases. After his playing days, Hausmann managed several minor league teams before completely leaving the game.

Mack Jones (Died on June 8; age 65; cancer): A left-handed hitting outfielder with considerable power, Jones was best remembered for his 1965 season, when he hit a career-high 31 home runs and was one of six Milwaukee Braves to hit 20 or more home runs. Along with Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews and slugging threats like Felipe Alou, Gene Oliver, and Joe Torre, Jones helped form one of the most feared National League lineups of the mid-1960s. After making his major league debut with three singles and a double in his first game on July 13, 1961, Jones remained with the Braves through the team’s move to Atlanta. In 1967, the Braves traded him to the Cincinnati Reds along with outfielder Jim Beauchamp and pitcher Jay Ritchie for slugging first baseman Deron Johnson. Nicknamed “Mack the Knife” for obvious reasons, Jones remained with the Reds through the 1968 season, but was left exposed in the National League expansion draft. As the second player taken by the fledgling Montreal Expos (after veteran outfielder-third baseman Manny Mota), Jones made history with Montreal in 1969. He became the first player in the franchise’s existence to hit a grand slam home run, driving in five runs to launch the Expos to their first home victory at Jarry Park. Eventually concluding his 10-year career with the Expos, Jones finished with his major league tenure with 133 home runs and 65 stolen bases.

After his playing days, Jones received a prestigious honor from one of his minor league teams. In the year 2000, the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League enshrined the popular Jones onto their Wall of Fame, which is featured at P and C Park in Syracuse. In 1964, Jones hit .317 for the Chiefs, blasting 39 home runs and collecting 102 RBIs.

Chris Kitsos (Died on June 7 in Mobile, Alabama; age 76; lung cancer): A native of New York City, Kitsos played in one major league game. Debuting as a shortstop for the Chicago Cubs on April 21, 1954, Kitsos played several innings in the field but never accrued an official major league at-bat. Soon demoted to the minor leagues, Kitsos played for such teams as the New Orleans Pelicans and Mobile Bears, and helped the Pelicans to the Southern Association championship in 1955. A member of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ organization for 10 seasons, Kitsos never made it to the major leagues with Brooklyn. After retiring as a professional player, Kitsos became a youth baseball coach and also worked with the mobile parks and recreation department.

Wilmer Fields (Died on June 4; age 81; extended illness): A well-known player in the Negro Leagues, Fields starred as both a pitcher and third baseman for the Homestead Grays and later became the president of the Negro League Baseball Players Association. Playing for the Grays from 1939 to 1950, Fields enjoyed one of his finest seasons in 1942, winning 15 games according to available records. Also a standout player in the Caribbean, Fields won the 1950-51 batting championship in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Doug Pappas (Died on May 20 in Big Bend National Park, Texas; age 42; heat prostration): A controversial but popular writer known for his knowledge of the business side of baseball, Pappas died while hiking in a national park, reportedly passing away from the effects of heat stroke. A longtime lawyer, Pappas gained much of his notoriety for his adversarial relationship with baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, whom he often criticized at his own web site—where he featured a daily weblog—and in published articles about the game’s economics. Pappas also served the Society for American Baseball Research as its pro bono legal counsel while working as the chairman of the organization’s “Business of Baseball” Committee. (He also wrote the committee’s “Around The Horn” newsletter.) In addition to his interests in baseball’s economic side, Pappas’ research expertise included the unrelated area of baseball ejections. Compiling a comprehensive list of ejections, Pappas won the USA Today Baseball Weekly Award for best presentation at the 2000 SABR Convention, as he delivered an in-depth study of the subject.

At the time of his death, Pappas was employed as an attorney at the New York City firm, Mintz and Gold, where he practiced law in the areas of civil and commercial litigation.

Buster Narum (Died on May 17 in Clearwater, Florida; age 63): A veteran of five seasons in the major leagues, Narum pitched for the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Senators, and Chicago White Sox in the 1960s. the right-hander compiled a lifetime record of 14-27 with an ERA of 4.45 and was perhaps best known for being traded from the Orioles to the Senators in a straight-up deal for Lou Piniella. Narum also hit three home runs in 118 major league at-bats.

Warren Abramson (Died on May 13 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; age 78; complications from a heart attack): A longtime front office official with the Milwaukee Brewers, Abramson was the first man that Bud Selig hired in his effort to help bring major league baseball back to Milwaukee. Hired in April of 1966, Abramson was entrusted with providing hospitality during Chicago White Sox games at Milwaukee’s County Stadium. Those games helped launch Selig’s efforts to return major league ball to Milwaukee, which had just lost the Braves to Atlanta. When the Seattle Pilots relocated to Milwaukee and became the Brewers just prior to the start of the 1970 season, Selig hired Abramson as his Director of Hospitality. Often serving as a host in the team’s executive dining room, Abramson was still working for the Brewers at the time of his death.

Wayne McLeland (Died on May 8 in Friendswood, Texas; age 79; cancer): McLeland pitched in 10 games for the Detroit Tigers during the 1951 and ’52 seasons. In 13 and two-thirds innings, he posted a won-loss record of 0-1 and an ERA of 8.57. After his retirement from baseball, he worked for the Goodyear Tire Company for 35 years.

Darrell Johnson (Died on May 3 in Fairfield, California; age 75; leukemia): A manager for eight seasons with three major league teams, Johnson was best known for guiding the Boston Red Sox to the American League pennant in 1975 and coming within one game of winning the franchise’s first World Championship since 1918. Stern in appearance but easygoing in nature, Johnson was well-liked by his players and highly regarded for his handling of pitchers and his general level of patience. Johnson’s major league career began as a player in 1952, when he broke in with the St. Louis Browns. A defensive-minded catcher, he later played for the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, and Baltimore Orioles before retiring in 1962. After his playing career, Johnson became a skipper in the Orioles’ farm system before being offered the Red Sox’ managing job in 1974. In 1975, Johnson skillfully worked two rookies—Fred Lynn and Jim Rice—into Boston’s starting lineup and led the Sox to the American League East title and a three-game playoff sweep of the defending World Champion Oakland A’s. The Red Sox then played the favored Reds in the World Series, forcing a seventh game when Carlton Fisk hit a dramatic game-ending home run in Game Six.

When the Red Sox struggled to a 41-46 start the following summer, primarily due to a string of pitching injuries, they fired Johnson and hired Don Zimmer—a harsh punishment for a man who had just steered his team to the Fall Classic. In 1977, the expansion Seattle Mariners hired Johnson as the first manager in team history. He remained in Seattle until he was let go in the midst of the 1980 season. Johnson later worked for the Texas Rangers in his final managerial tenure.

Moe Burtschy (Died on May 2 in Delhi Township, Ohio; age 82; heart failure): A tall right-hander who pitched in the 1950s, Burtschy played for both the Philadelphia and Kansas City A’s after a stint in the U.S. Navy during World War II. During the war, Burtschy served aboard the famed USS Ticonderoga. Making his debut for Philadelphia in 1950, Burtschy went on to post 10 wins and four saves in 90 major league appearances. He remained with the A’s’ organization until June of 1956, when he was traded to the New York Yankees for Eddie Robinson and Lou Skizas. After his playing days, Burtschy went to work as a freight salesman in the trucking industry.

Lou Chapman (Died on April 30 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; age 90): A longtime writer for the Milwaukee Sentinel, Chapman served as the beat writer for the Milwaukee Braves throughout their 13-year tenure in Wisconsin. He later covered the fledgling Milwaukee Brewers, beginning with the team’s first season in 1970. Earning a reputation as strong, investigative beat writer, Chapman was given the nicknames “Scoop” and “Gumby” (a derivative of the word “gumshoe”) for his ability to break stories. Chapman was so highly respected that he earned Wisconsin Sports Writer of the Year five times during his career.

Floyd Giebell (Died on April 28 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina; age 94): Although he pitched in only 28 games, Giebell helped the Detroit Tigers secure the American League pennant in 1940. Needing a win to clinch the league title, the Tigers called on the lean right-hander to start the game on September 27 against future Hall of Famer Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians. Hurling a six-hit shutout, Giebell bested Feller and the Indians to send the Tigers to the World Series. The Tigers rewarded Giebell by giving him a silver tray engraved with the signatures of the team’s players. The young right-hander never again achieved similar glory. He pitched briefly for the Tigers in 1941, but was sent back to the minor leagues in mid-season. After pitching for Buffalo in 1941 and ’42, he then served in the U.S. military for three years during World War II. Never returning to the major leagues, Giebell finished his career with a 3-1 record and a 3.99 ERA in 28 games encompassing over 67 innings.

Sam Nahem (Died on April 19, 2004 in Berkeley, California; age 88): A pitcher who toiled for the Brooklyn Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Philadelphia Phillies over a four-year major league career, Nahem enjoyed his best season in 1941, when he posted a 2.98 ERA in 81 and two-thirds innings for the Cardinals. The following season, he saw his career interrupted as he joined the Army for service in World War II. After the war, Nahem returned to pitch for the Phillies, but was ineffective, allowing over seven earned runs per nine innings in 1948.

Lou Berberet (Died on April 6 in Las Vegas, Nevada; age 74): Typifying the notion of a good-field, no-hit catcher, Berberet played seven seasons during a journeyman career in the 1950s. A veteran of the New York Yankees, Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Detroit Tigers, Berberet was involved in three trades during his career. In 1956, the Yankees traded him to the Senators as part of the deal that brought left-handed pitcher Mickey McDermott to the Bronx. Known for his sure hands behind the plate, Berberet played all 77 of his games in 1957 without an error. As a hitter, Berberet’s best year occurred in 1959, when the left-handed batter clubbed 13 home runs and drove in 44 runs.

Gene Karst (Died on April 6 in Ladue, Missouri; age 97): Karst was baseball’s first public relations official, taking on the role for the St. Louis Cardinals’ “Gashouse Gang” teams of the 1930s. After a stint with the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Karst was hired by Cardinals general manager Branch Rickey to write feature stories about such stars as Dizzy Dean, Frankie Frisch, Rogers Hornsby, and Joe “Ducky” Medwick. The stories often appeared in small-town newspapers that surrounded the St. Louis area. In addition, Karst promoted special events designed to increase the awareness and popularity of the Cardinals. Karst’s work in journalism and baseball eventually earned him induction to the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame in 2001.

George Bamberger (Died on April 4 in North Redington Beach, Florida; age 78; cancer): Considered one of the great pitching gurus of the 1960s and seventies, “Bambi” enjoyed a successful run as pitching coach for the Baltimore Orioles from 1968 to 1977. Under his guidance, Orioles pitchers helped the team win three American League pennants and one World Championship from 1969 to 1971. During his tenure, four Orioles claimed Cy Young Awards, two for future Hall of Famer Jim Palmer and two for left-handed craftsman Mike Cuellar. In 1971, Bamberger’s staff reached its pinnacle as four starters remarkably posted 20-win seasons, including Palmer, Cuellar, Pat Dobson, and Dave McNally. No team has come close to matching four 20-game victors since Bambi’s Orioles… Bamberger’s work as a pitching tutor so impressed other teams that the Milwaukee Brewers hired him as their manager after the 1977 season. Bambi led the Brewers to two finishes of 90-plus wins before a heart ailment requiring bypass surgery cut short his managing days, forcing him to retire in the middle of the 1980 season. Bamberger’s retirement didn’t last; he came back to guide the rebuilding New York Mets in 1982 and ’83, before returning to the helm of the Brewers in 1985 and ’86. Including his two stints in Milwaukee, Bamberger accumulated a more-than-respectable record of 377-351 as the manager of the Brew Crew.

Bob Cremins (Died on March 27 in Pelham, New York; age 98): Pitching for the Boston Red Sox, Cremins made his major league debut under the most stressful of circumstances, having to face Babe Ruth of the hated New York Yankees in August of 1927. The young left-hander retired Ruth with relative ease, inducing a ground ball to first base. Yet, Cremins appeared in only three more games after that and then decided to leave the game the following season. Cremins achieved success in his post-playing days, becoming a cartoonist for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin newspaper and working as Pelham’s town supervisor. A war hero, Cremins also worked on an air-sea rescue vehicle for four years during World War II. At the time of his death, Cremins was the second oldest former major leaguer, just behind Ray Cunningham. The 99-year-old Cunningham played 11 games in two seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Jim “Pig” Harris (Died on March 22 in Mobile, Alabama; age 84). A veteran of Negro Leagues baseball in the 1940s, Harris played as a catcher for the Mobile Black Bears, the Mobile Black Shippers, and the Weinacker Indians. In one of the highlights of his career, Harris once homered off legendary Negro Leagues ace Satchel Paige. Harris later signed contracts with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians organizations, but never advanced past the minor league level.

Di Ann Kiner (Died on March 22 in Rancho Mirage, California; cancer): The wife of Hall of Famer and longtime New York Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner passed away after a long struggle with reoccurring cancer. The couple had been married for over 40 years.

William Eberly (Died on March 21 in Toledo, Ohio; age 82): Eberly served the minor league Toledo Mud Hens as their financial consultant for the last 40 years, capping off a baseball career that began after an encounter with Branch Rickey. In 1945, Eberly approached the Brooklyn Dodgers general manager, who was so impressed that he hired him to work as a general manager in the team’s farm system. Eberly’s career with the Dodgers included stops in five different states, eventually setting the stage for a move to the major leagues. In 1953, Eberly became ticket and business manager for the Milwaukee Braves and remained in that position until 1965, when the team relocated to Atlanta. His career at a crossroads, Eberly decided to leave baseball and return to his native Toledo, where he became a stockbroker. Eberly eventually returned to the game, joining the staff of the Mud Hens, the same team for which he had previously worked as a teenager.

Gene Bearden (Died on March 18 in Alexander City, Alabama; age 83): Bearden compiled one of the most memorable rookie seasons in baseball history, winning 20 games with a league-leading 2.43 ERA in 1948. Bearden’s unexpected excellence, both during the regular season and the World Series, helped the Indians’ organization to its last World Championship. A left-hander with an overwhelming knuckleball, the 28-year-old Bearden pitched a tie-breaking play-off game against the Boston Red Sox on one day’s rest, receiving the nod over expected starter, Hall of Famer Bob Lemon. Bearden’s five-hit performance lifted the Indians to the 1948 American League pennant, setting the stage for a World Series encounter against the Milwaukee Braves. In the third game of the Series, Bearden pitched a five-hit shutout and banged out a double and a single at the plate. He then pitched in relief in Game Six, recording the final five outs of the game to wrap up the World Championship for the Tribe.

Unfortunately, Bearden never again matched the success of his rookie season. Often struggling with control of his knuckleball and knuckle-curve, Bearden twice led the league in wild pitches and never won more than eight games in a single season. Later pitching for the Washington Senators, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Browns, and Chicago White Sox, he finished his journeyman career in 1953, forging a career record of 45-38 with an ERA of 3.96.

Avitus “Vedie” Himsl (Died on March 15 in Chicago; age 86): Operating under the Chicago Cubs’ unusual rotating “College of Coaches” in the early 1960s, Himsl was designated to serve as the team’s “head coach” for the first two weeks of the 1961 season. Under his leadership, the Cubs won five games and lost six to start the season. Himsl was then replaced by Harry Craft, but then returned to the head coach’s chair for stints of 17 games and three games later in the summer. After the Cubs abandoned the College of Coaches concept, Himsl remained with the team as a conventional coach through the 1964 season.

Roxie Campanella (Died on March 14 in Woodland Hills, California; age 77; cancer): The widow of Hall of Famer Roy Campanella, Mrs. Campanella helped operate the Roy and Roxie Campanella Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping the victims of spinal cord injuries. The foundation had been established after the three-time Most Valuable Player suffered career-ending paralysis following a 1958 car accident. Even after Roy’s death in 1993, Roxie continued to run the foundation and remained a prominent public figure in her later years, often attending Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, New York, and making frequent visits to Dodger Stadium.

John Henry Williams (Died on March 6 in Los Angeles, California; age 35; leukemia): The contentious son of Hall of Famer Ted Williams died after being diagnosed with leukemia last fall and undergoing a bone marrow transplant in December. After his father’s passing in July of 2002, John Henry gained notoriety when he campaigned to have the elder Williams’ body cryonically frozen. John Henry and his sister, Claudia, claimed that their father had signed a handwritten pact indicating his preference to be frozen, but their half-sister, Bobby Jo, insisted that Williams wanted to be cremated. John Henry also entered the public spotlight in the spring of 2003, when he attempted a career playing independent minor league baseball, but his efforts were quickly stalled by injury.

Marge Schott (Died on March 2 in Cincinnati, Ohio; age 75; lung disease): A controversially colorful owner, Schott oversaw the Cincinnati Reds from the mid-1980s through the end of the 1999 season. At the peak of her career, Schott’s Reds won the World Series in 1990, surprising the favored Oakland A’s in four games. Unfortunately, her tenure as owner was also marred by a series of racial slurs and other insensitive remarks. The outspoken Schott drew the ire of the baseball establishment through her praise of Adolf Hitler and her criticism of umpires for canceling an Opening Day game due to the sudden heart attack death of home plate umpire John McSherry.

Marvin Moran (Died on March 1; age 80): Moran never played or managed, but did gain some notoriety when he successfully battled polio and then became the official voice of the National Anthem for the Milwaukee Braves in the 1950s and early 1960s. Moran sang the Anthem at the 1955 All-Star Game and in the 1957 World Series, with Milwaukee’s County Stadium serving as the site for each performance.

Pete Cera (Died on February 24 in Hazelton, Pennsylvania; age unknown): A veteran of 60 years in baseball, Cera worked most notably as a major league and minor league trainer. He also served as a traveling secretary and clubhouse manager during a career that began with the Hazelton Red Sox in 1938. Cera also worked as the clubhouse manager for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1980, the year that they won the World Championship.

Andy Seminick (Died on February 22 in Melbourne, Florida; age 83; cancer): Seminick was the last surviving everyday member of the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies’ “Whiz Kids,” who stunned the baseball world by capturing the National League pennant over seemingly superior competition. Regarded by many as the spiritual leader of the Whiz Kids, the rough-and-tumble catcher batted .288 with 24 home runs in 1950. It was arguably the best season of Seminick’s 15-year career, as he matched lifetime highs in home runs and RBIs, and achieved a personal best in batting average that summer. Respected for his toughness, Seminick played in the 1950 World Series despite a badly injured ankle. For his career, Seminick hit 164 home runs, making him one of the most powerful hitting catchers of the late forties and early fifties. After his playing days, the hard-nosed Seminick became highly successful as a minor league manager in the Phillies’ organization. Considered outstanding in the area of player development, Seminick managed the likes of Mike Schmidt, Ferguson Jenkins, Alex Johnson, and Bob Boone, all of whom eventually became stars in the major leagues. In particular, Seminick helped Boone make a difficult transition from third base to catcher at Double-A Reading in 1971, paving the way for the young Phillies farmhand to make the big leagues only one year later.

Charlie Fox (Died on February 16 in Stanford, California; age 82; complications from pneumonia): A former player and manager in the major leagues, “Irish” was best known for his tenure as manager of the San Francisco Giants in the early 1970s. After replacing Clyde King midway through the 1970 season, Fox led the Giants to the National League West title in 1971, forging a record of 90-72. The Giants’ performance under his leadership earned Fox National League Manager of the Year honors. Although favored by some to advance to that fall’s World Series, the Giants lost the Championship Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates, falling three games to one. Fox remained the manager of the Giants through the 1974 season, compiling a record of 348-327 in the Bay Area. He later managed the Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs on an interim basis, and also served as the Expos’ general manager from 1976 to 1978. Fox most recently worked as a scout for the Houston Astros from 1990 to 1993 before retiring. As a player, Fox batted .429 in three games for the New York Giants in 1942, but saw his catching career interrupted when he entered the Navy to serve in World War II.

Lawrence Ritter (Died on February 15 in New York City; age 81; series of strokes): One of the most respected authors of the baseball genre, Ritter wrote the highly-acclaimed book, The Glory of Their Times, a compilation of oral histories of players from the early 20th century. Ritter spent four years traveling and interviewing subjects with a tape recorder. Among those he interviewed were Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner, two of the five inaugural members of the Hall of Fame. A devoted and popular member of SABR, Ritter also wrote several other lesser-known but still respected books on baseball, including Lost Ballparks and Leagues Apart: The Men and Times of the Negro Leagues.

Ted Tappe (Died on February 13 in Wenatchee, Washington; age 73): Although Tappe had a relatively nondescript three-year career in the major leagues, he did gain notoriety when he homered in his first big league at-bat. Making his debut for the Cincinnati Reds on September 14, 1950, the left-handed hitting outfielder came to the plate as a pinch-hitter and hit a home run against Brooklyn’s Erv Palica. It was one of five home runs that Tappe would hit in only 58 career at-bats.

Adriana Orsulak (Died on February 9 in Timonium, Maryland; age 39; brain cancer): Drawing praise for the courage she displayed in battling cancer for many years, the wife of former major league outfielder Joe Orsulak finally succumbed to the disease in early February. Adriana Orsulak first met her husband in Venezuela in 1983; they eventually married and had two children. Joe Orsulak played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets, and Florida Marlins during a 13-year career in the major leagues.

Richard Dennis Powell (Died on February 3 in Glenwood, Maryland; age 92; cancer): Powell served as the business and general manager for the Baltimore Elite Giants, one of the premier teams in the old Negro Leagues and onetime home for future major league stars like Joe Black and Roy Campanella. Believed to be one of the last surviving executives from the Negro Leagues, Powell helped oversee Elite Giants teams that won Negro National League titles in 1939 and 1949. He was also credited with convincing team owner “Smiling” Tom Wilson to move the franchise from Washington to Baltimore in 1938.

Joel Rubenstein (Died on February 1 in Newport Beach, California; age 67; complications from cancer): Rubenstein served as a top aide to Peter Ueberroth during his term as baseball commissioner and as part of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. After joining the Commissioner’s Office as executive vice president for marketing in 1984, Rubenstein helped form the Baseball Assistance Team (known as BAT), which raises money for former major leaguers in need of financial and medical assistance. Rubenstein made his last public appearance at this year’s BAT dinner, which was held on January 27 in New York City. At the dinner, Rubenstein was honored for his dedication to the BAT organization.

Ernest Burke (Died on January 31 in Baltimore, Maryland; age 79; complications from kidney cancer): Burke played as both a pitcher and outfielder for the Baltimore Elite Giants of the Negro Leagues. His four-year career with Baltimore followed a rather historic tour of duty in the war; he was one of the first black Marines to serve in World War II. Burke later played in the Canadian Provincial League, where he batted .308 in his best season north of the border while splitting time between the outfield and third base. That same season, Burke also posted a 15-3 record as a pitcher. After his playing days, Burke remained connected to the game by frequently signing autographs and selling Negro Leagues memorabilia at trading card shows.

Curtis Johnson Sr. (Died on January 27; age 71; heart attack): Johnson played two seasons in the Negro Leagues during the 1950s. After his playing days, he enjoyed a successful career in politics, working as a councilman and police juror, among other positions.

Johnny Blatnik (Died on January 21 in Lansing, Ohio; age 82; extended illness): A veteran of three major league seasons, Blatnik made his debut for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1948. The right-handed hitting outfielder hit .260 with six home runs in 128 games as a rookie, but would appear in only 17 more games the rest of his career.

Lloyd Merriman (Died on January 20 in Fresno, California; age 79; emphysema): A veteran of five major league seasons, the left-handed hitting outfielder batted .242 in 455 games. More notably, Merriman served a tour of duty in the Korean War, flying combat missions with both Ted Williams and John Glenn.

Marie “Blackie” Wegman (Died on January 20 in Delhi Township, Ohio; age 78; heart failure): Wegman originally turned down an offer to play in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), but then found out that a spot in the league paid more than her factory job and also included a nice bonus of a spring training trip to Cuba. A pitcher and infielder, Wegman played for four teams in the AAGPBL, including the Rockford Peaches.

Tom Glaviano (Died on January 19 in Sacramento, California; age 80): Nicknamed “Rabbit,” the diminutive Glaviano played for four seasons as an infielder with the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies. Sometimes adventurous with the glove, he was best known for making errors on three consecutive plays in a game on May 18, 1950. In 389 career games, Glaviano batted .257 with 24 home runs.

Harry “The Cat” Brecheen (Died on January 17 in Bethany, Oklahoma; age 89): Brecheen was best known for winning three games in the 1946 World Series, as his St. Louis Cardinals defeated the favored Boston Red Sox for the World Championship. A two-time All-Star, Brecheen also pitched in the 1943 and ’44 World Series, earning an overall record of 4-1 in the postseason. In regular season play, Brecheen forged a record of 133-92 with an ERA of 2.92. The 12-year veteran enjoyed his best season in 1948, winning 20 games while leading the National League in ERA, strikeouts, and shutouts.

Hershell Freeman (Died on January 17 in Orlando, Florida; age 75): A relief pitcher during the 1950s, Freeman toiled for the Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago Cubs. The tall right-hander reached the pinnacle of his career in 1956, when he won 14 of 19 decisions for the Reds and notched 18 saves while logging over 108 innings. Two years later, the Reds traded Freeman to the Cubs for fellow pitcher Turk Lown. After his playing days, Freeman went to work for a juvenile detention home and as a high school baseball coach.

Jim Devlin (Died on January 15 in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania; ag


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