Thursday, April 28, 2022

RIP - Joel Horlen

Following the deaths of Pete Ward and Tommy Davis, the White Sox alumni association took another hit on April 10, 2022 with the passing of Joel Horlen, one of their fine starting pitchers during the 2nd half of the 1960s. He was 84.
He often joined his southpaw teammate Gary Peters atop the AL ERA leader charts in the mid-1960s.
Horlen's best season was 1967. That year he led the AL in ERA (2.06) and shutouts (6), posted 19 wins, made the All-Star team, and pitched a no-hitter in September. 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

RIP - Tommy Davis

Tommy Davis, who won 2 batting titles while patrolling left field for the Dodgers in the 1960s, passed away on April 3, 2022 at age 83.
After a 1-game debut in 1959, Davis played for the Dodgers for the next 7 seasons. He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1960, and won the batting title in 1962 and 1963. Those 2 seasons were his only All-Star appearances. 
After the 1966 season he played for nine teams over his final ten seasons.  
With the death of Tommy Davis, 248 of the 490 players (50.6%) that appeared on a solo card in the 1967 set have passed away.  19 of the 20 managers in that set are also deceased. The Reds' Dave Bristol (only in his early-30s at the time) is still living.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

RIP - Pete Ward

Pete Ward, a 3B-OF for the White Sox in the 1960s, passed away on March 16, 2022 (the same day as Ralph Terry) at age 84.
Ward debuted with the Orioles in September 1962, then a few months later went to the White Sox as part of a 6-player deal that brought Luis Aparicio to the O's.
He played mostly 3rd base and left field for the Sox, and was one of the team's sluggers. (23 homers was more than enough for the team lead on the Go-Go Sox.)
After his first 2 years in Chicago both his power and average dropped off significantly, but he was a regular for 5 more seasons. 
He wound up his career in 1970 as a pinch-hitter and backup 1st baseman for the Yankees. 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

RIP - Ralph Terry

Ralph Terry, who pitched for the Yankees and others from 1956-67, passed away on March 16, 2022 at age 86.
Terry started his career with the Yankees in 1956, then was traded to the Kansas City Athletics (where else?) in early-1957 in the deal that also sent Billy Martin westward. 
Terry returned to the Yankees 2 years later, and was a member of the starting rotation for the next 6 years. His best season was 1962, when he led the AL with 23 wins and was named to his only All-Star team. He also posted a 2-1 record in the World Series and was named the series MVP. In 1963 he led the league with 18 complete games. 
Ralph was traded to the Indians after the 1964 season, and after one season bounced to the Athletics and Mets, finishing his career in late-April 1967.  

Monday, March 7, 2022

RIP - Fred Lasher

Fred Lasher, a reliever for the Tigers and others in the late-1960s, passed away on February 27, 2022 at age 80.
Lasher played briefly for the Twins in 1963, then pitched for the Tigers for part of 1967 and all of 1968 and 1969.  He split the 1970 season between the Tigers and Indians. 
The Angels selected him in the post-1970 Rule 5 draft, but he played most of the '71 season in the minors, and only 2 games for the Angels. He was released the following spring, ending his career. 


Monday, February 14, 2022

RIP - Vic Roznovsky

1960s' journeyman catcher Vic Roznovsky passed away on January 18, 2022 at age 83.
His best season was 1965, logging career highs in games (71) and at-bats (172). The Cubs used a catching committee that season, with Chris Krug (46 starts), Ed Bailey (45), Roznovsky (44), and Dick Bertell (19). 
After the season he was dealt to the Orioles and was their 3rd-string catcher for 2 years. He played all of 1968 in the minors, then resurfaced in 1969 as the Phillies' 3rd-string backstop.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

RIP - Tom Matchick

Tom Matchick, a utility infielder for the Tigers and 4 other teams in the late-60s and early-70s, passed away on January 4, 2022 at age 78. 
Matchick broke in with Detroit in September 1967, and played all of 1968 and 1969 with the Tigers. He started 45 games at shortstop in their 1968 World Championship year, mostly over the 2nd half until center fielder Mickey Stanley famously took over in the final week of the regular season. The following year Tom started 76 games, mostly at 2B and 3B. 
He split the 1970 season between the Red Sox and the Royals, then spent the next 6 seasons in the minors, although he did play 42 games with the Brewers in '71 and 3 games with the Orioles in '72.


Saturday, January 1, 2022

2021 Re-cap

It's time once again for my annual year-in-review post, where I re-cap all the players who passed on during the year.
In recent years I also listed the players that appeared on my blogs that year. However, in 2021 (in addition to the deceased players) other casualties have been my blogs. I said goodbye to my '63, '65, and '66 set blogs in January, having exhausted the players I wanted to post there. My other blogs have been spotty at best this past year. 
It's a combination of running out of players, and running out of the desire to blog. The '67 player list has been completed, with only a review of the Mets team remaining, and any other ad hoc topic that comes to me. The '68 to '70 set blogs are near the end (player-wise) as well, with mostly league leaders and other non-player-specific topics still on my to-do list. 
It's been a good 12-year run for me. I still read other blogs at least weekly, and will probably post occasionally on my 60s, '68, '69, and '70 blogs. Happy New Year to everyone! 
1960s' players who left us in 2021: 
And from outside the baseball world: 
Gerry Marsden
Tanya Roberts
Gregory Sierra
Siegfried Fischbacher (Siegfreid & Roy)
Phil Spector
James Purify
Larry King
Cloris Leachman
Cicely Tyson
Dustin Diamond
Christopher Plummer
Leon Spinks
Mary Wilson (Supremes)
Chick Corea
Rush Limbaugh
Roger Mudd
Marvin Hagler
Yaphet Kotto
Elgin Baylor
George Segal
G. Gordon Liddy
Prince Philip
Walter Mondale
Michael Collins (Apollo 11)
Johnny Crawford
Olympia Dukakis
Bobby Unser
Lloyd Price
Tawny Kitaen
Charles Grodin
Gavin McLeod
B.J. Thomas
Arlene Golonka
F. Lee Bailey
Clarence Williams III
Ned Beatty
Donald Rumsfeld
Jackie Mason
Tom T. Hall
Don Everly
Charlie Watts
Ed Asner
Michael Constantine
Willard Scott
Jean-Paul Belmondo
Big Daddy Graham
Norm MacDonald
Jane Powell
Sarah Dash
Tommy Kirk
Colin Powell
Peter Scolari
Jay Black
Mort Sahl
Dean Stockwell
Graeme Edge
Billy Hinsche
Eddie Mekka
Lee Elder
Arlene Dahl
Dave Draper
Bob Dole
Al Unser
Mike Nesmith
Desmond Tutu
John Madden
Betty White

Also: Football deaths in 2021 


Wednesday, December 29, 2021

RIP - Chuck Dobson

Chuck Dobson, a starting pitcher for the Athletics in the 1960s and 1970s, passed away on November 30, 2021 at age 77.
Dobson was one of many young hurlers in the Athletics' starting rotation during their final years in Kansas City and later in Oakland. Others were Catfish Hunter, Lew Krausse, Blue Moon Odom, and Jim Nash. 
Fittingly, he was born in Kansas City, spent his early years pitching there, and also died there. Dobson was the first pitcher to make his big-league debut in his hometown and for his team's home opener.  

Sunday, December 26, 2021

RIP - Don Demeter

Slugging outfielder Don Demeter passed away on November 29, 2021 at age 86.
After a 3-game cup of coffee with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956, Demeter played 10 seasons (1958-67) with the LA Dodgers, Phillies, Tigers, Red Sox, and Indians. His prime years were 1961-65 with the Phillies and Tigers. 
After baseball, Demeter had a varied career as the owner of a swimming pool business, president of the minor-league Oklahoma City 89ers, a politician, and a minister. 


Thursday, December 23, 2021

RIP - Bill Virdon

1950s/60s Pirates' outfielder Bill Virdon passed away on November 23, 2021 at age 90.
Virdon began his career with the Cardinals, and was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1955. He was inexplicably traded away to the Pirates the following May for a bag of beans, and became the Bucs' center fielder for the next 10 years. 
He also managed the Pirates, Yankees, Astros, and Expos from 1972 to 1984.  

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

RIP - Jerry Johnson

Jerry Johnson, who pitched for the Phillies, Giants, and others from 1968-77, passed away on November 15, 2021 at age 77.
Johnson debuted in mid-1968 with the Phillies, then was included in the Dick Allen for Curt Flood trade after the 1969 season. After only 7 games, the Cardinals dealt him to the Giants. 
His best season was 1971, when he posted a 12-9 record for the Giants, and surprisingly (to me anyway) finished 6th in the Cy Young voting. Johnson subsequently pitched for the Indians, Astros, Padres, and Blue Jays.  

Monday, November 15, 2021

RIP - Billy Moran

Billy Moran, the Los Angeles Angels' 2nd baseman for their first few seasons, passed away on October 21, 2021 at age 87.
Moran made his debut with the Indians in 1958, playing 115 games as the backup 2B-SS. He also played a handful of games for the Tribe in 1959, before settling back in the minors until his June 1961 trade to the expansion Angels. 
Moran was the regular 2nd baseman for the rest of '61, and started 150+ games there in each of '62 and '63. He was the AL's starting 2nd baseman in both All-Star games in 1962. 
With the arrival of Bobby Knoop in 1964, Moran moved over to 3rd base for the first half, then returned to the Indians in June, where he backed up 3rd baseman Max Alvis. He played a few games for Cleveland in 1965 but spent most of the year in triple-A. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

RIP - Ray Fosse

Ray Fosse, an Indians' and Athletics' catcher in the 1970s, passed away on October 13, 2021 at age 74.
Fosse was the Indians' starting catcher from 1970-72. Traded to the Athletics for Dave Duncan after the 1972 season, he was Oakland's regular catcher in 1973 and for the first 2 months of 1974, before losing his job to Gene Tenace. 
He returned to the Tribe in a limited role for 1976-77. Fosse signed on with the Brewers for 1978, but missed the entire season with leg injuries. He retired after only playing a handful of games in 1979. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

RIP - Rich Barry

Rich Barry, the long-time Yankees' farmhand who finally got a cup of coffee with the Phillies in 1969, passed away on October 9, 2021 at age 81.
Barry (even scarcely remembered among old-school Phillies' fans) played in the Yankees' farm system from 1958 to 1965, often hitting over 20 homers in a season. Still, he could not break in with their big club. 
Acquired by the Phillies before the 1966 season, he played for that organization from 1966-69 (the last 3 seasons in triple-A) before finally making his major-league debut at age 28 on July 4th, 1969. After playing 20 games (5 starts), his major-league career was over. 
Barry played the next 3 seasons for the triple-A clubs of the Angels, Padres, and Braves before retiring. He finished with 280 homers in the minors, topping 20 homers 7 times.