Career Cardinals' player, manager, coach, and executive Red Schoendienst passed away on June 6, 2018 at age 95. He was the oldest living member of the Hall of Fame.
Schoendienst was signed by the Cardinals in 1942. After some minor-league time (and missing most of 1944 while in the Army), he made his major-league debut as their left fielder in 1945, then was their regular 2nd baseman from 1946-55.
After stints with the Giants and Braves, Red returned to the Cardinals in a supporting role from 1961-63 (including player-coach in his final 2 seasons).
He managed the Cards from 1965-76 (including 2 World Series appearances). Red was also a coach and special assistant for the Cardinals from 1979-2017, including 2 turns as interim manager for parts of 1980 and 1990.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989, and the Cardinals retired his #2 in 1996.
(Schoendienst just made an appearance on this blog last week.)
Early-1960s backup first baseman Ray Barker passed away on May 29, 2018 at age 82.
Barker played in the minors from 1955-64 and 1967. He also played for the Yankees from 1965-67, along with a few games for the Orioles in 1960 and Indians in 1965.
Most of his big-league playing time came with the Yankees in 1965, when he started 43 games at first base behind Joe Pepitone.
Although with the Yankees for all of 1966, his playing time was diminished, and by September his role was filled by rookie call-up Mike Hegan.
Barker was traded to the Orioles in mid-1967 for pitcher Steve Barber (with Barber essentially taking the retired Whitey Ford's spot in the starting rotation).
Barker's final card (in the 1967 high-number series) is pictured above.
Former Twins' utility infielder and manager Frank Quilici passed away on May 14, 2018 at age 79.
Quilici was a Twins' farmhand from 1961-67, and also played for Minnesota during the 2nd half of 1965, 2 dozen games in 1967, and all of 1968-70. In 1965 he took over the starting 2nd base job in mid-September, and played in all 7 World Series games that year.
After retiring following the 1970 season, he became a major-league coach for the Twins in 1971, and by mid-1972 was promoted to manager - less than 2 years after his playing career. He managed the team through the 1975 season, his teams finishing in 3rd place 3 times and 4th place once. It was his only stint as a big-league manager.
He was also a Twins' broadcaster in the 1970s and 1980s.
Al Stanek, a pitcher for the 1963 Giants, passed away on May 8, 2018 at age 74.
Stanek's career consisted of 11 games for the Giants in 1963 (as a 20-year-old). He pitched for various Giants' farm teams from 1962-1967, and despite not pitching for San Francisco after September 1963, he managed to score cards in the '64, '65, and '66 Topps sets.
A high school baseball star from western Massachusetts, he compiled a 37-5 record as a high school pitcher, and was also quite a hitter, collecting 29 RBI in 21 games as a senior. He was inducted into the Western Massachusetts Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.
Former Mets' pitcher Larry Miller passed away on March 21, 2018 at age 80.
Miller pitched in the Dodgers' farm system from 1959 to 1964, and also with the Dodgers in 1964. He also played for the Mets in 1965 and 1966.
Miller's record shows he played for the Giants' AAA team from 1967-69, and was never in the Orioles' organization. Having not been in the majors since 1966, I'm not sure why Topps made a card for him in the 1969 set, least of all as an Oriole.
Rusty Staub - "Le Grande Orange" - has passed away today (Opening Day) March 29, 2018 at age 73.
Staub had been in failing health in recent months.
Rusty played for the Astros (1963-68), Expos (1969-71), Mets (1972-75), Tigers (1976-79), the Expos again (1979), Rangers (1980), and the Mets again (1981-85).
He was a 6-time All-Star (1967-71, 76), and led the NL with 44 doubles in 1967. He was the first star for the Montreal Expos, and remained popular there, even though he only played 3 seasons for Montreal. Staub was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1986.
In 2009, I posted about the Expos' Jarry Park on this blog, and one commenter offered the following story about Rusty Staub:
"Not only was the lighting bad, but the fences were deteriorating. During a foggy night game against the Cubs, Ernie Banks tagged what appeared to be a home run over the right-field fence, but the umpires could not see it due to the fog.
So they went to Expo right-fielder Rusty Staub, who, knowing what was about to happen, resourcfully kicked a hole in the bottom of the fence. Upon inquiry, Staub said he saw the ball bounce into the hole. With only Staub's word to go on, the umps waved off Banks' homer, and ruled it a ground-rule double.
Former Athletics' and Mets' 3rd baseman Ed Charles passed away on March 15, 2018 at age 84.
Charles was signed by the Boston Braves in 1952, but didn't make it to the majors until 1962. Ed was the regular 3rd baseman for Kansas City from 1962-1966. When Sal Bando joined the team at the start of 1967, Charles was traded to the Mets in mid-May.
He shared the Mets' 3rd base job until Ken Boyer was traded away in mid-season, then was the every day 3rd sacker for the rest of 1967, and just over half on 1968.
In the Miracle Mets season of 1969, Ed shared the job with various youngsters, and appeared in the 1969 World Series.
He was released after the season, and later scouted for the Mets.