Tuesday, June 6, 2017

RIP - Herm Starrette


Ex-Orioles' pitcher and long-time pitching coach Herm Starrette passed away on June 2, 2017 at age 80.


Starrette pitched for the Orioles in 1963 (and also briefly in '64 and '65), but was better known as a pitching coach for many teams.

He coached in the Orioles' farm system from 1966-71, contributing to the development of the young arms coming up through that system.

Herm moved up to the majors in 1974, and spent 28 years coaching and/or instructing for the Braves, Orioles, Giants, Phillies, Brewers, Cubs, Expos, and Red Sox.

I first became aware of Starrette when Dallas Green tabbed him as his pitching coach for the 1979-81 Phillies.

Hometown obituary
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Sunday, June 4, 2017

RIP - Jim Piersall


Former American League outfielder Jim Piersall passed away on June 3, 2017 at age 87.


Piersall played 17 seasons, for the Red Sox (1950-58), Indians (1959-61), Senators (1962-63), Mets (1963), and Angels (1963-67). He was an All-Star in '54 and '56, and led the AL with 40 doubles in 1956.

He played only 5 games in his final season, retiring in May to work in the Angels' front office. Piersall later was a broadcaster for the Rangers and White Sox.

He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2010.

ESPN obituary

KCRA TV3 (Sacremento) obituary
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Saturday, May 27, 2017

RIP - Jim Bunning

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It's been a bad year for ex-Phillies... 

Former Tiger's and Phillies' ace pitcher Jim Bunning passed away on May 26, 2017 at age 85.


Bunning pitched for the Tigers from 1955-1963, and for the Phillies from 1964-67, and 1970-71. In his first season with the Phillies, this father of 9 pitched a perfect game on Fathers' Day.

He retired after the 1971 season, and after a stint as a minor-league manager for the Phillies, he went into politics, eventually becoming a US senator for Kentucky.

Philadelphia Inquirer obituary
 
Larry Bowa's recollections of Jim Bunning. Bunning and Bowa were teammates during Bowa's first 2 (Bunning's last 2) seasons.

ESPN obituary

Here is Jim Bunning's page in my 1967 Phillies yearbook (which I just found a few weeks ago after moving).


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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

RIP - Sam Mele

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Sam Mele, the Twins' manager from 1961-1967, passed away on May 1, 2017 at age 95.

At the time of his death, he was the oldest living person with a card in the 1967 Topps set.

That distinction now goes to Cardinals' manager Red Schoendienst (age 94, and #18 on the list of the 100 oldest living ex-players). The oldest living PLAYER from the 1967 card set is Elroy Face (age 89, and also #89 on the top-100 list).


Mele managed the Twins from their first season in Minnesota (1961) through the first 50 games of the 1967 season. His Twins won the AL pennant in 1965, before losing to the Dodgers in the World Series.

After his dismissal by the Twins, he worked as a scout for the Red Sox from mid-1967 until retiring in 1994.

He was also an outfielder for 6 teams from 1947-1956, primarily the Red Sox, Senators, and White Sox.

TwinCities.com obituary

New York Times obituary
 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

RIP - Bob Cerv

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Former Yankees' and Athletics' outfielder Bob Cerv passed away on April 6, 2017 at age 91.


Cerv began his career in 1951 with the Yankees. After 6 seasons as a bench player, he was traded to the Kansas City Athletics (a/k/a the Yankees' AAAA farm team) after the 1956 season.

His best years were from 1957-60, where he was a regular for the Athletics, then returned to the Bronx early in the 1960 season (and going 5-for-14 in the Fall Classic that year).

After the 1960 season, he was drafted by the expansion Angels, but returned to the Yankees in May 1961. Sold to the expansion Houston Colt .45s in June 1962, he was released a month later, ending his 12-year career.

New York Times obituary

Kansas City Star obituary


(card image from eBay)
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Saturday, April 8, 2017

RIP - Roy Sievers

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Roy Sievers, a slugging OF/1B who played for the Browns, Senators, White Sox, and Phillies from 1949-1965, passed away on April 3, 2017 at age 90.


Sievers won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 1949 while playing for the St. Louis Browns.

When the team moved to Baltimore after the 1953 season, Sievers was traded to the Washington Senators. He enjoyed his greatest success during his 6-year stay with the Nats. In 1957 he led the AL with 42 homers and 114 RBI. He topped 100 RBI 3 other times and hit 39 homers in 1958.

Roy played for the White Sox in 1960 and 1961, then spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Phillies.

In mid-1964 he moved on to the (new) Washington Senators, making Roy one of 8 players to have played for both Senators' franchises.

Washington Post obituary

Roy Sievers' story on SABR website

Saturday, April 1, 2017

RIP - Ruben Amaro Sr


1960s Phillies shortstop Ruben Amaro passed away on March 31, 2017 at age 81.

(The Phillies' family has lost 3 members in the last 10 days: Dallas Green, 1987-89 pitcher Todd Frohwirth, and now Amaro.) 


Amaro played for the Phillies from 1960-65, sharing the shortstop job with Bobby Wine during that time. He also played for the Yankees from 1966-69 and the Angels in 1969.

After his playing career, Amaro was hired by Dallas Green as a minor-league assistant and scout from 1972-79, and as the Phillies' 1st base coach from 1980-81. He also scouted for the Cubs, Tigers, White Sox, and Astros.

Philly.com obituary

6abc (Philadelphia) obituary

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

RIP - Dallas Green


With great sadness I am posting that long-time Phillies' organizational soldier Dallas Green passed away today (March 22, 2017) at age 82.


Green played for the Phillies from 1960 to 1964, then spent some time with the Mets and Senators, before returning to the Phillies for his final season in 1967.

Green then went to work assisting Paul Owens in running the Phillies' farm system. After Owens' promotion to GM in 1972, Green took over the farm system, until being named Phillies' manager in late 1979.

He managed the Phillies for the 1980 and 1981 seasons, "coaxing" all the varied personalities to the 1980 World Series championship.

After 1981 he moved to the Cubs as a front-office executive. He later managed the Yankees in 1989 and the Mets from 1993-96, before returning to the Phillies as a senior advisor.


To me, the "Old-school Phillies' Way" was personified by Paul Owens, Dallas Green, John Vukovich, and Larry Bowa. Three of those four are now gone.

Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia story

ESPN obituary
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Friday, March 17, 2017

RIP - Bob Bruce


1960s' pitcher Bob Bruce passed away on March 15, 2017 at age 83.


Bruce played for the Tigers, Colt .45s/Astros, and Braves from 1959 to 1967.

Beginning his career with Detroit, his best years were from 1962-66, when he was a workhorse starter for the Colts/Astros. In a 1964 game, he struck out the side on only 9 pitches (1 day after Sandy Koufax had done the same). He was also the starting pitcher in the first game played in the Astrodome.

After the 1966 season Bruce was traded to the Braves for veteran 3rd baseman Eddie Mathews, and retired after the season.

Houston Chronicle obituary

Post from a Houston-area blog
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Monday, March 13, 2017

RIP - Bill Hands


1960s' Cubs' starting pitcher Bill Hands passed away on March 9, 2017 at age 76.


Hands began his career with the Giants, pitching in the minors from 1959-65, along with 4 games for the Giants in 1965.

Traded to the Cubs, he was a key member of their rotation from 1966 to 1972, winning 16, 20, and 18 games from 1968 to 1970.

Hands also played for the Twins from 1973-74 and the Rangers from 1974-75.

Obituary from Bleed Cubbie Blue blog

Obituary
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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Stars of the 1960s: Frank Robinson


Sixth in a series... 


After 10 years with the Cincinnati Reds (including winning the Rookie of the Year award in '56 and the MVP in '61), Frank Robinson was traded to the Orioles prior to the 1966 season, and led them to their first-ever World Series appearance (and championship) in his first season there. As icing on the cake, he also won the Triple Crown and the MVP award that year. For good measure, he led the AL in runs scored too!

Robby was also a 12-time All-Star (6 with the Reds, 5 with the O's, and once with the Angels).


Monday, February 6, 2017

Stars of the 1960s: Bob Gibson



Let's see.... what did Bob Gibson do? 

5-time 20-game winner (led NL in 1970 with 23 wins).
8-time All-Star (including 6 straight 1965-70).
9 consecutive Gold Glove awards (1965-73).
Topped 250 strikeouts four times, including NL lead of 268 in 1968.
Led NL with 13 shutouts in 1968.
28 complete games in both 1968 and 1969 (led NL in '69).
1.12 ERA in 1968 was best in majors.
Cy Young winner in '68 and '70.
MVP in 1968.
Played in 3 World Series from 1964-68 (9 games), posting a 7-2 record with 92 strikeouts.
MLB changed the strike zone and lowered the mound after 1968 because of him.
1st-ballot Hall of Famer in 1981 (only player inducted that year).
Quite a hitter too! 1965 - 5/19/.240; 1970 - 2/19/.303

Did I miss anything?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Stars of the 1960s: Harmon Killebrew


4th in a series....


Harmon Killebrew played for the Senators/Twins from 1954 to 1974, then finished his career with the Royals in 1975.

Topps managed to find different photos for each of these cards. However, they forgot that on all the other 1967 Twins cards, the "TWINS" team name was green, not yellow.


Harmon hit more home runs in the 1960s than any other player.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

RIP - Billy Champion

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Shelby, North Carolina native Billy Champion, one of the many young pitchers promoted by the Phillies from 1969-72, passed away on January 7, 2016 at age 69.


Champion played 4 years in class-A ball, including a 15-5 record in 1968.

With the loss of starting pitchers Chris Short (to injury) and Larry Jackson (expansion draft), Champion stepped into the starting rotation as a rookie in 1969, making 20 starts and compiling a 5-10 record for an awful team.

He spent 1970 mostly in the minors, as Short returned to the lineup and the team re-acquired Jim Bunning. Champion returned for 2 more seasons with the Phillies, as a reliever in '71 and as the team's #2 starter (a distant #2, behind Steve Carlton) in '72.

Champion was dealt to the Brewers after 1972, and played 3 1/2 years in Milwaukee, his career year coming in 1974 (11-4, 3.62).

Released in June 1976, he finished the season with the Braves' AAA team. His final pro season was 1977, back in the Phillies' minor leagues.

Champion worked as a scout and coach for 5 teams after his playing career.

Shelby (NC) Star obituary

A very interesting retrospective here
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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

RIP - Bob Sadowski (INF)

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Bob Sadowski (the utility infielder from '61-'63, not the Braves' pitcher from '63-'65 shown farther below) passed away on January 6, 2017 at age 79.


Sadowski began his career in 1955 with the class-D Hazlehurst-Baxley Cardinals (how's THAT for a team name?) in the Georgia State League.

He played in the minors every year from 1955-69, except for spending all of 1962 with the White Sox and all of 1963 with the Angels. He also appeared for the Phillies for part of 1961, and one game for the Cards in 1960.

obituary