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 start 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.
Jack Hamilton, who pitched for 6 teams in 8 years, passed away on February 22, 2018 at age 79.
Hamilton began his career in 1962 with the Phillies. Initially a starter, by mid-season he found himself in the bullpen, where he stayed for the bulk of his career, except for 1967 with the Angels.
After 2 seasons with the Phillies, he was traded to the Tigers as part of the Jim Bunning deal. Then it was on to the Mets (1966-67) and Angels (1967-68), before splitting his final 1969 season between the Indians and White Sox.
Hamilton retired after pitching in AAA ball in 1970, and went into the restaurant business.
Well-traveled Tito Francona passed away on February 13, 2018 at age 84.
Francona began his pro career in the St. Louis Browns' organization. After 2 years in the service, he made the Orioles team in 1956, and was the runner-up for the AL Rookie of the Year award that season (the team's 3rd season in Baltimore), garnering 1 ROY vote (as did Rocky Colavito. Luis Aparicio won the award with 22 votes.)
Tito played 15 seasons, for the Orioles (1956-57), White Sox (1958), Tigers (1958), Indians (1959-64), Cardinals (1965-66), Phillies (1967), Braves (1967-69), Athletics (1969-70), and Brewers (1970).
He was an every-day player as a rookie with the Orioles, and during his time with the Indians (1959-64). He spent his final 6 seasons as a backup 1B-OF for 5 different teams.
After his playing career, he was the director of parks and recreation in New Brighton, PA (a town adjacent to Joe Namath's hometown of Beaver Falls, PA) until retiring 10 years ago.
Francona's son Terry has managed the Phillies, Red Sox, and Indians - winning 2 World Series and another AL Pennant.
Well-traveled outfielder Oscar Gamble passed away today, January 31, 2018 at age 68.
Gamble began his career in the Cubs organization, and was acquired by the Phillies prior to 1970 for Johnny Callison. After 3 seasons as a part-time outfielder with the Phillies, he moved on to Indians, where he was an every-day player from 1973-75.
After quick stops with the Yankees, Padres, White Sox, and Rangers, Gamble returned to the Bronx for his longest stay anywhere (1979-84).
He wrapped up his career in 1985 with the White Sox. Gamble played for 7 teams over his 17-year career.
Wow! I haven't had a "Stars of the 1960s" post since last March, so let's revisit the Orioles:
Here are my 4 oldest Brooks' cards. (Actually, the 1967 card is the newest to me, as I only got it 2 years ago.) In hindsight, I wasn't missing much all those 49 years, since I already had the "reprint" that Topps apparently issued in their 1969 set! :/
Brooks played for 23 seasons - all with the Orioles. I just recently posted Ed Kranepool's card on my 1966 blog, where I realized he played 18 seasons - all with the Mets. Sometime I will have to do a study of players from the 1960s who played more than 10 seasons and all with the same team. (I can only think of Mantle, Gibson, and Yaz off the top of my head.)
Anyway, back to B Robby: He was an All-Star for 15 consecutive seasons, and won 16 consecutive Gold Glove awards. Surprisingly (to me anyway) he led the AL with 118 RBI in 1964, and was the MVP that year.